At the SUMC Christmas Choral Celebration in December, singer Carol Keneway was honored for 50 years of service in the choir. While she has been in the Adult Choir at Sycamore United Methodist for more than five decades, her musical journey started long before that.
Carol’s father, Fred Johnston, composer and music director at First Lutheran in DeKalb, gathered Carol and her brothers around the piano when they were about 3 years old and taught them songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Wants You For a Sunbeam." (Fred’s parents had sung extensively with their 10 children, including taking them on tour to various states.) Carol sang under Fred's direction in church choirs and the Fox Valley Luther League Choir, which sang for national conventions in Boston and at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado. Their group was even pictured in Life magazine. She was active in several high school music groups, placing first in state with a mixed octet.
After Carol married local farmer Dave Keneway, she joined Sycamore United Methodist, and soon after started singing alto in the Adult Choir. She later switched to tenor, and for the past 10 years has served as the music librarian. As much as director Bev Rauch and the choir members value that service, they possibly enjoy her wonderful baking just as much.
In addition to her faithful service to the choir, Carol is a member of the Adult Handbell Choir, United Methodist Women, various committees in the church, chairs the funeral luncheons, and has worked with homemakers in the community for many years. She treasures time with her two children and five grandchildren, who all live in the area.
Carol has given much to the choir, but said that she has profited from the fun, fellowship, and humor of the group, as well as the chance to harmonize and participate in many cantatas through the years under directors Dave Aldis and now Bev Rauch. The most recent production, "Gloriously Simple," where Carol was honored, raised more than $3,000 for Heifer International and SUMC. Carol joins one other choir member with more than 50 years of service – Nancy Miller, who was featured eight years ago for her 50 years.