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Tracy Frank, Published May 17 2014

HerVoice: Playing to the pews

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.

ROTHSAY, Minn. – Kristi Peterson has been playing piano since she learned how to read and write.

The Rothsay 18-year-old took piano lessons from kindergarten through ninth grade.

“I like that it gives me an escape from life,” she said. “It’s always been a hobby.”

For the past four years, Peterson has used that hobby to serve the congregation of Little Bethany Lutheran Church, a rural church 10 miles north of Rothsay.

“They’re a good little church. It’s like a family out there,” she said. “I want them to stay running as long as possible.”

The congregation has a faithful gathering of about 15 people most Sunday mornings, and they feel blessed to have Peterson playing for them, Linda Froslie of Barnesville says.

Peterson’s mom has played there and at New Life Lutheran Church in Rothsay, which is in a parish partnership with Little Bethany, for many years, Peterson said. One day she had Peterson give it a try.

“I thought it was kind of cool,” she said.

Peterson played throughout the summer and decided she wanted to keep playing for the rural congregation, so she took over for her mom. She also occasionally plays at New Life Lutheran.

Peterson practices the hymns the pastor sends her a week in advance. She chooses the prelude, postlude and communion songs.

“I like that I get to go and take a drive by myself and be with all the people out there, who are really nice,” she said. “And it gives me an excuse to play the piano.”

The Rothsay High School senior plays every other Sunday and plans to continue playing even when she goes to North Dakota State University in the fall. She plans to major in agribusiness.

Peterson says piano is a hobby she will likely continue for the rest of her life.

“It helps me relax, and it makes me feel good about myself that I can create music and share it with others,” she said.

Peterson also plays tenor saxophone and is involved in volleyball, basketball, golf and softball. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is co-valedictorian of her class.

“I just try to keep myself focused and do the best I can,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526