COLUMBUS, Ga. — The nation recognizes the top singers in the industry every year during the Grammy Awards. Jim Hilderbrand of Columbus wasn’t expecting one Sunday night, but says the kind of singing he does is just as rewarding if not more so.
You would expect the hear a voice like Jim Hilderbrand’s in a church choir. He’s a music director’s dream. Sunday morning he was singing a solo at his home church, Edgewood Baptist in Columbus. Jim received very little formal voice training growing up. He started singing in church when he was a small boy. His first song was “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”
“I was probably not quite six, but I remember stretching out my neck and singing with joy and vengeance,” says Jime Hilderbrand.
Jim’s talent has allowed him to sing before hundreds, if not thousands of people. But Jim remembers not long ago singing before an audience of one, when he was chaplain at a local hospice.
“Sometimes as I began to feel my way along their lives, I would use the opportunity to share a passage of scripture.. do a little devotional thought, and then sing an old hymn which they would recognize,” says Hilderbrand.
Jim’s voice delivers a message of hope and assurance to his audience, like the one that gathered recently at Covenant Woods to hear him sing.
“When I start praising the Lord with people, it is my joy and sometimes my challenge to get them to sing along,” says Hilderbrand.
The folks at Covenant Woods had no problem joining in. Jim realizes that what he has been given is something to be shared.. something that should be used as an instrument of praise to the one who blessed him with it.
“I really believe, and have more so as I have begun to put years on…I believe that it was a gift, and it was a gift by the Father,” says Hilderbrand.
And Jim chooses to share it until the day he joins that heavenly choir.