Skip to content

Lifting the spirit with song

on November 8, 2010

People keep healthy in many ways—eating fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, visiting the doctor and dentist—but how do people keep their minds and spirits strong?

For Fairfield resident Kimberly Harvey, singing in church is her soul’s Vitamin D.

Harvey, the choir’s interim director, has been coming to Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond all of her 29 years. She grew up with music at home and started singing in choirs when she was nine years old. She’s been at it ever since.

“I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t sing,” Harvey said. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have God in my life. I don’t know how life would be if I didn’t have that anchor.”

Rev. Billye Austin (right) started the sermon saying, "It's raining outside, but it's sunshiny in here, and so we have come to praise God this morning." Rev. Austin was appointed as Easter Hill's senior pastor in 2003.

Easter Hill began as a little wooden-shingled house in 1951 and has become a two-story church with 305 members and a large sanctuary where about 140 people worship each Sunday.

Audrey Goins Brichi has been attending Easter Hill since 1981 and was one of Harvey’s first children’s choir directors. She said coming to church every week grounds her for the day and the week to come.

Nearly 100 people lined the scarlet pews on a rainy Sunday to honor All Saints’ Day. The 14-person choir, clad in deep purple robes, lined the front wall and sang a heartfelt hymn.

“I’d rather have Jesus,” voices floated in the air, “than silver and gold.”

Harvey stepped to the microphone, closed her eyes and sent her voice soaring. “Don’t give me a mansion,” she sang, “on top of a hill. Don’t give me the world with a shallow thrill…”

Audrey Goins Brichi (left), Leonard Plummer (center) and Kimberly Harvey (right) leave Sunday's service. Plummer is the director of the entire choir and Harvey is the choir's interim director. Brichi directed one the first children's choirs Harvey sang in.

Her voice was strong, peaceful and filled with conviction.

Singing, Harvey said, is her ministry. “I am able to sing praises to God,” she said. “We all…you pray to him or you talk to him…it’s some kind of communication. And singing is my communication. All of the words that I sing—they all mean something.”

To Harvey, a life without singing is unfathomable.

“I don’t understand when people have voices and they don’t sing,” she said. “If God’s given you this voice, why not use it to the best of your ability? Not for accolades or for people to clap for you, but to make somebody have a closer relationship with God.”

“I can’t imagine my life without singing,” she said. “Can’t imagine it. Don’t want to.”

20101108_easter_hill/silver_gold.mp3| Easter Hill United Methodist Church choir and Kimberly Harvey singing “I’d Rather Have Jesus” | Audio by: Anne Brice

Richmond Confidential welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Richmond Confidential assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Card image cap
Richmond Confidential

Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

Please send news tips to

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top