‘A rare treasure’ Rosemary Kinard to retire after 19 years at St. John’s

Rosemary and Karl Kinard

By Susan Shinn Turner

The scene perfectly encapsulates what kind of relationship Rob Durocher and Rosemary Kinard have had. On communion Sundays, after the anthem is finished, the Doxology follows. If you watch closely, occasionally you’ll see Rosemary begin to play, while Rob finishes.

How do they do that?

“We trust each other,” says Rob. “It just worked.”

Rob and Rosemary, associate parish musician, have built a relationship based on trust and respect through Rosemary’s 19 years in the position.

On Sept. 19, Rosemary will retire from the position in which she has served so joyfully.

“I have been thinking about this for several months,” Rosemary admits. “But then Rob had to have wrist surgery and Pastor Laura resigned, so I knew I could wait. I did not want to detract from her.”

But now it is time to step away.

Rosemary moved to Salisbury in 1986. She and her two sons visited many different churches.

“We came to St. John’s, and I was just blown away by the liturgy and the music,” she says. “I had never lived near so many Lutheran churches. I grew up a Baptist in the Deep South!”

Rosemary and her sons joined St. John’s in 1987. The boys were active in the youth program and the music program, she says. “They were very, very happy at St. John’s.”

Rosemary began work at Catawba College in 1987. Before her retirement there in 2008, she taught a variety of music courses. With Karl’s encouragement, she began the highly successful Service of Lessons and Carols, which continues today.

At St. John’s, Rosemary founded the Men’s Chorus, the Chapel Choir, the Chapel Music Team, and the Flute Choir. Prior to the pandemic, she and Karl were co-directors of the Trinity Oaks Singers and Ringers.

The Men’s Chorus came out of a church talent show which featured a barbershop quartet.

“Then that group began to grow,” Rosemary says. “Karl said, ‘I’d like to sing in a group because I never get to sing. Why don’t you direct?’”

“It was just the right time for the right idea,” Rosemary says.

At its height, the Men’s Chorus boasted more than 50 members, and gave a concert each spring and at Christmas. She says she especially loved working with Janie Rollins, who accompanied the group over the years.

She and Karl also collaborated with the late Dan Brown on the hymn, “Together We Go Forth,” commissioned for the congregation’s 250th anniversary in 1997.

When Rosemary was growing up, she says that her mother insisted that she take piano. At age 10, she started playing flute in band. Her mother bought her the flute that she still plays today. And she’s pretty sure she always sang.

She remembers accompanying The Messiah at age 15 on the piano for her church’s chancel choir.

“I still have the book,” she notes.

Her mother moved her and her brother from a small town in Florida to Fort Lauderdale because the schools were better. Also, First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale had a terrific music program. Rosemary studied piano, organ and voice under at Mrs. Curfee, whom she calls a big influence.

In college, she accompanied voice lessons.

“I learned a lot of repertoire that way because I sat and listened,” she says.

In retirement, Rosemary plans to “do all the stuff I haven’t done in helping Karl organize.”

As you may imagine, the two have an extensive music library.

On Aug. 25, she and Karl celebrated their 31st anniversary. Collectively, they have four children and six grandchildren. Now that she doesn’t have to work weekends, Rosemary is keen to spend more time with those grandchildren.

“I have been honored to serve at St. John’s,” Rosemary says. “It has been a blessing to use God’s gift of music to praise him.”

“It is hard to imagine going forth without her,” Rob admits. “She has been such an integral part of the music program at St. John’s — someone with such great enthusiasm, creativity, positivity, and musicianship. She’s truly a rare treasure.”

A reception will be held for Rosemary following 11 am worship on Sept. 26 in Peeler Hall.


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