I’d like to honor a very special lady, my mother, Gloria Ortega Everson.

This isn’t a Mother’s Day post, although that’s around the corner.

It’s about a choice she made decades ago to fill a need.

In 1980, the Everson family was living in mid-Michigan. I was 3 years old. At Calvary Baptist Academy in Midland, Michigan, school administrator Dr. Mike Reece was directing the choir after the director left. They put out an announcement that a choir director was needed, and Gloria stepped up to the challenge.

A gifted soprano vocalist from an early age, she grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, attending Arthur Hill High School. I remember her talking fondly about her voice teacher, Mrs. Rice, during my own growing up years.

She went on to study at both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. She married my dad, Dr. Dana F. Everson, in June of 1975.

I was 4 years old when mom actually took over the directing responsibilities at CBA. I remember going to some of the rehearsals and getting to know some of the high school students in her choirs. Choir tour began in those years, and drama was added shortly afterward. CBA continues this tradition to this day.

Being part of a Gloria Everson-led choir meant that you were expected to give your best, be your best, and have a passion to minister in music to the audience. This was in addition to the high standard of musical excellence she taught. This remained true while I was in her choir from 1993-1995. She brought her energy, enthusiasm and heart to every practice, no matter how tired she was feeling.

“Leave your troubles at the door,” she would say when we walked into the choir room.

Mom and Dad left Midland and CBA in 1999 to move to Wisconsin, serving for 12 years in Christian education at Northland Baptist Bible College. Mom would end up directing the choir at the local Christian school in Pembine, bringing her trademark vivacious energy and love for the Lord to a whole different generation of high school students.

Mom and Dad moved back to Midland around 2012, and became increasingly involved with Calvary Baptist Academy once again.

She is officially retiring this year after 38 years of directing choir. I’m actually glad that she is retiring, because she has a lot more to offer teaching individuals on a smaller scale at her own pace. Keeping up with an academic calendar of a model private school like CBA takes a lot of energy.

I love you, Mom, and I’m so grateful for all the effort you have put into so many over the years! Praise God for your faithful service. Anyone who knows you knows you aren’t going to stop ministering in music, but we will be glad that you can do so at your own pace in this next phase of life and ministry.

Gloria Everson’s final spring concert will be May 3rd at Calvary Baptist Academy in Midland, Michigan. Limited quantities of the choir’s new CD album will be available. Special thanks to Natalie (Everson) Garrison for the photos. Cards from current or former students (or others) can be mailed to Gloria Everson, care of Calvary Baptist Academy, 6100 Perrine Road, Midland, MI, 48642.