Betty Carol Flanagan and Norma Bean have been playing music together at Carmel Baptist Church since 1962.
Both say their main calling has been music, something that was instilled in them by their parents. Flanagan plays the organ while Bean plays the piano. Flanagan and Bean have both been a member of Carmel Baptist Church since their teenage years.
“My mother influenced me greatly in the area of church music,” Flanagan said. “She served as pianist for decades and passed on her love of music to me.”
Bean said she can’t remember a time when her family did not attend church regularly, where her father usually led the music.
“Even as a small child, I always wanted to sit by the piano, watching the pianists hands and feet,” Bean said. “I was in the eighth grade at Kate Griffin when we moved to the country, very close to a church called Carmel Baptist, where I became a member as a teenager.”
Bean said at the time she was elected pianist, she felt not quite ready, but through encouragement from the church, she yielded and God blessed.
“At that time, my husband Fred and I had two children under the age of three years,” Bean said. “The Lord helped lead us throughout the years and blessed us unmerited."
During their 57 years of playing together, Bean and Flanagan agree playing together has been a joy.
“We seem to like the same music, and we have played together for so long that we can read what the other will do, even if we get caught without rehearsing,” Bean said. “I have told her that she helped me by covering up my mistakes.
“She seems to know when I will mess up, but she says I cover her mistakes, too.”
“During the 57 years of playing the instruments together we have not only bonded through music but have also developed such a special friendship through all the years,” Flanagan said. “We are so blessed!”
Flanagan and Bean both agree as they plan their music each Sunday there is one common thread, and that is to always glorify and praise God as they play. They believe every Christian should pray that God would show them what he needs them to do and be, and he will bless.
“As long as the Lord makes it possible, I will continue to play for Him,” Bean said. “As our church family knows, I am limited; but I love to play for our church to praise God.
Bean and her husband, Fred, have three children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandson.
Flanagan and her husband, John, have three children and nine grandchildren. She is retired after teaching elementary/middle school for 43 years.