Patsy and Tony Martin lead groups in chanting. In 2000, at the Friends General Conference Gathering, they attended a chanting workshop facilitated by Beverly Shepard. It was a transcendent experience for them. When they returned home, they began organizing local groups. Currently they host chanting at the Bower Center in Bedford and the Friends Meetinghouse in Roanoke. Patsy is responsible for scheduling the groups and contacting people about the dates. At the groups themselves Tony introduces the chants. He uses chants from participants and well-known chanters as well as ones he has created himself. The chanting begins, is interspersed and ends with silence. The participants create the chant as they chant: listening to each other, following each other, leaving space between each other. Occasionally rhythm instruments accompany the chanting. Although there is certainly creativity involved, Patsy and Tony are reluctant to call the chanting they facilitate an art form. To them, it is ministry and a form of worship.
Patsy and Tony are also active in community theater. They actually met in a college play. Patsy taught drama at Liberty High School, and Tony occasionally directed plays as the gifted resource teacher at Bedford Elementary School. Nowadays they appear with the Little Town Players in Bedford. Patsy takes photographs and does paper crafts, as well. She loves to write a friend’s name in color over and over while holding them in the Light.
Patsy and Tony are long-time members of Roanoke (BYM) Meeting. When they were serving in the Peace Corps in Malaysia, they were introduced to Quakerism. They returned to the United States and were active in Meetings in Salina, Kansas and Charlotte, North Carolina. They became members of Roanoke Meeting after moving to Virginia in 1985. Patsy worked for Friends General Conference for 13 years, serving in the role of Junior Gathering Coordinator. Recently they began participating in the School of the Spirit’s “On Being a Spiritual Nurturer” program.
I know Patsy and Tony as great people and experienced Friends. So it was a delight to attend one of their groups at the Meetinghouse and take part in their chanting. I encourage you to join them sometime!