Make a Joyful Noise!

Karen Scribano   -  

Friday mornings at St. Mark are a bustling, busy time as toddlers come through the doors of the Discipleship Center.  With their mom, nanny or other caregiver in tow, they work their way down one careful step at a time to the Tiny Tots class being held in the lower level, chattering in high-pitched voices.  Soon the chatter turns to singing and clapping, with a variety of instruments adding to the festive mood.  This is a special place to be, thanks to Deb Paul, or “Miss Deb” as she’s known in class–the smiling, welcoming woman who will fill their world with music and fun for the next hour of their day.

When Deb’s children were small, she got involved with a “Mom’s Group” at St. Mark, and she also began teaching a local Kindermusik class. As she befriended other young mothers, they expressed a desire for a more affordable toddler music class, and one that would allow siblings to come along without paying an extra fee.  Several moms went to Pastor Foss, who could see the joy and ease that Deb had with children, and a new outreach ministry was born.

The class was, and still is, offered free of charge, with St. Mark providing the space and hiring Deb as the instructor.  Deb delights in being able to spend time with the families in her classes. “Tiny Tots is a benefit for everyone in the room!  Parents can connect with their children in a way that is not digital-related. We play musical games and activities that are interactive and can be continued at home.  This gives them quality time together and helps them carry music into other parts of their lives.”

Deb’s love of music came from her dad.  He was a medical doctor who loved music and playing piano. When she was small, she would accompany him on his medical rounds after church on Sundays, and he would have her sing for his patients.  She wanted to be like her dad and was devastated when he died when she was only 10 years old.  But the love of music that they shared created a bond that sustained her, and she still always connects music to the memory of her father.

“Music for me is more than an activity – it is a big character in my life!” Deb majored in music and likes nothing better than to share the joy it brings her with those around her.  She writes all the songs that are used in the Tiny Tots classes. She is part of the St. Mark praise team and has been involved with the Youth Musical since its inception.  Outside of St. Mark, she and Dan Trilk of Norwalk perform locally as “Debbie Doo Wop and Dynamite Dan,” and together they have recorded a couple kid’s albums. In turn, she encourages her students to continue growing through music.  Many of her Tiny Tots students go on to take piano or voice lessons, join choir, or pick up a band instrument.

It is a lifelong, emotional response to music that Deb wishes to instill in her students at this very young age. “I love being part of their formational development, of planting the seeds of joy that music can spark in their lives and grow with them. I know God is working through me and this ministry to bring people in, help them connect in positive ways, and find a light that will continue to grow as they go out into the community.”

Sing on, little ones!