Header, SMBC Header Graphic

Home | What We Believe | Service Times | Pastor | Programs & Classes | Calendar | About Us | Contact Us | Map

Judy Sipes Our Church Musician

Header, SMBC Header Graphic

I was born in Henderson, KY in 1943. My father was an old time hill preacher and while in my early childhood, I travelled with him across South Central and Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee preaching in various churches. I would often accompany him and play accordion and sing in revivals, street meetings and camp meetings. It was there in Eastern Kentucky in small rural churches I heard and learned the “Appalachian” sound. Often times my accordion was the first instrument some of them had experienced, as they commonly “lined” songs and sung acappella. Some did have guitars and on rare occasions, an old out of tune upright piano.

I really cannot recall ever not knowing how to play piano which was the first instrument, along with the old pump organ of my grandmother’s, that I learned to play. Mostly I played piano and organ for church from about age four and my dad saw to it that I had piano lessons from the community’s most astute teachers that began at the early age of five. I studied classical piano until about age twelve. My music ability and talent is a gift from God for which I am so thankful and blessed. Although the study and educational aspects helped to shape my music, it never seemed to be the driving and dominating factor.

Having lived most of my life in Kentucky, my roots were deep in Old Time music and I could never seem to get away from it. The haunting sounds of the echoes of lining of hymns, mournful ballads and the hard driving beat of old time wafting across the hills and hollers was in my blood and soul. In the early nineties after moving to North Carolina, I became immersed in the history and playing of the music. I travelled to fiddle conventions, workshops, porch pickins, jams and events across the Southeast. In the mid nineties I became interested in the autoharp and dulcimer. I was not serious about playing these two instruments until around 2006.

I have witnessed the revival of Contra Dances which is thrilling to me and also as I travel, to watch our heritage and culture of old time music being passed along to the youth of our generation in many ways and means. I once sat backstage with Janette Carter, visited and played a few tunes at Tennessee Homecoming and I will never forget she said to me “above all, the heart must be kept in this music”

Old time music is the heart of a people, their culture and way of life, telling of where we came from, where we are and where we are going. The music has a heart as Janette Carter said, and must be kept in the music which will insure it will not die out and will be around for future generations.

I will be forever grateful and thankful to my parents and that of the Holiness and Pentecostal saints that were a powerful influence, in the small Kentucky town and county, where I was born. Their influence on my parents, was in large part, responsible for my finding the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, at a very early age. I cut my first tooth on the back of a pew in a little church where my parents were saved and where I accepted Christ. I was the namesake of Rev. E. Keevil Judy, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Henderson, KY. It was there in my teen years, I rededicated my life and God given talent, to serve and follow the Lord. At age three, I was stricken with Polio, a crippling, dreaded disease, with no known cure, that was rampant and raging across the nation. I experienced a miraculous healing when anointed and prayed for in the hospital, by all of my dad’s fellow ministers in the community. I was carried in and walked out and find it easy to this day, to believe the Lord for healing. Later in my early teens, I was once again, supernaturally healed and since that time, have had very little need of medical intervention. Through my teen years, I had a time of rebellion and straying, but I could never stray too far from the Lord, who had touched me and laid His hands on me, at such an early age. In 1961 in Louisville, KY, I met the love of my life, William “Bill” Sipes. We married in 1962. He crossed over to the far side bank of Jordan in 2019 and will come running through the shallow waters reaching for my hand, when I make that crossing. Our life together took us places and led us on a most remarkable, incredible journey, where we met some of the Lord’s most beloved and faithful servants. In the words of the famous happy Goodman’s song, “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now”! GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL TO ME EVERY STEP OF THE WAY AND I PRAISE HIM AND GIVE HIM ALL THE GLORY FOREVER - AMEN. - Judy D. Sipes

Miss Judy Playing in church


Judy Sipes made a long trip to our Smyth County Jam coming all the way from Waynesville, NC. She has been playing autoharp only two years, but says she has played the organ and piano in church many years. All Judy's mother's people played stringed instruments. She is so enthused over being here at the jam and having the honor of playing; she said it was as good as getting to play on the Grand Ole Opry! We are really happy to have Judy and invite her back any time she can come. Judy's dad was a mountain preacher and they travelled all over the mountain area. Judy is a real estate agent in Waynesville, but confesses her real love is music! Maybelle Carter is her heroine, musically speaking. She says she met and got to play with Janette Carter also and that was a great thrill.


Heartwood Artisan Gallery – Abingdon, VA

Smyth County Jam – Chilhowie, VA

Shindig on the Green

Carter Fold

Mount Airy Fiddle Convention

Tazewell Fiddle Convention

Galax Old Time Fiddle Convention

Barrs Fiddle Shop – Galax Virginia

Allegheny Fiddle Convention

Happy Valley Fiddle Convention

Cranberry Thistle Jam

Canton Jam

Canton Pickin In the Park

Oconoluftee Visitor’s Center – GSMNP

Mountain State Fair

Mrs. Hyatt’s Opry House

Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market

Western Carolina University First Thursdays Jam

Tennessee Homecoming – Lantana Drifters with Charlie Acuff

Tennessee Homecoming – Abe Lincoln

Autumn Leaves Festival – Mt Airy, NC

Blue Ridge Music Center

Jackson County Contra Dance

Waynesville Contra Dance

Various Civic events, Churches, Retirement Centers

WNC University History Dept Student Video Project – 2011

Great Smoky Mountains Association promotional videos
NOTSB (Nashville Old Time String Band Association) Member

*Assisted with organizing and leader- Oconaluftee Old Time Jam



The Mountain Dulcimer "Ambassador" Scholarship, sponsored by funds raised at '12 Dulcimerville, is a new category. JUDY SIPES of Lake Junaluska, NC, is a charming multi-instrumentalist who first heard the dulcimer in her native Kentucky and has always wanted to play it more. She is enrolled in our "Traditional Music for the Mountain Dulcimer" course.

2009 – Alleghany Fiddlers Convention – Sparta, NC – Fifth Place Autoharp

2009 – Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention – Lenoir, NC – Participant

2009 – Tazewell Fiddlers Convention – Tazewell, VA – Second Place Autoharp

2010 – Mt Airy Fiddlers Convention – Mt Airy, NC – First Place Autoharp

2010 – Tazewell Fiddlers Convention – Tazewell, VA – Fourth Place Autoharp

2010 – Galax Fiddlers Convention – Galax, VA – Participant

2013 – Tazewell Fiddlers Convention – Tazewell, VA – First Place Autoharp


GSMNP – Cherokee NC

Shindig 2013 - Asheville NC

Shindig 2012 – Asheville NC

GSMNP – Cherokee NC

GSMNP – Cherokee NC

Jump back to the top of this page

Report Errors or Problems to Webmaster

South Middleburg Baptist Church 2023

4565 Alligator Blvd. Middleburg, Florida 32068