Gospel singer says, 'I Will Go On' -- Ramsey to celebrate CD release with Feb. 24 concer
For almost as long as she can remember, music -- particularly inspirational music -- has been part of Janice Ramsey's life.
"When I was about seven years old, my parents, Gilbert and Adeline Olson and sister Elsie attended revival services at the Alma Lutheran Church in rural Marshall County (Minnesota)," says Janice, who grew up in the small southwestern Minnesota community of Newfolden.
Inspired by the message of those meetings, Janice discovered her faith in God, and shortly afterward, sang in public for the first time.
"My mother taught me a song to sing at the 90th birthday party for a neighbor," she says. "The song was 'Is Thy Heart Right With God?' My mother must have decided this was the easiest song for her to teach me, or perhaps, she felt the message was appropriate.
"Whatever the reason, I learned the song, sang it with all my heart and the rest of my life was changed ... I knew God had given me a talent to use for his glory. From that moment, music became a significant part of my life."
When she met her future husband, David, music continued to be an important part of their courtship and eventual marriage. He was always encouraging her to record a CD of her music, Janice says.
After their marriage, the couple settled in Detroit Lakes, and raised three children: sons Mike, Jon and Tim. In January 1980, they began singing together as part of the gospel quartet, Shekinah (Kim Schnitzer and Gayle Detert were the other two members of the group).
"We recorded two albums together," she says.
But David continued to encourage his wife to make a recording of her own -- a prospect that was put on hold indefinitely when David was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
For 16 years, Janice served as his caregiver -- even after she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. While she was going through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, David went through two separate surgeries of his own -- both of which required a long period of recovery.
"He passed away in November 2006," Janice says. "He was such a sweetheart, a really kindhearted guy."
In his memory, Janice decided to finally record that solo CD. Titled "I Will Go On," the 13-track album is a collection of "songs that have meant a lot to me," she notes.
For instance the song "Knowing You'll Be There," is a tribute to her husband. "It took a long time of practicing that one before I could sing it without tears," Janice says.
"I've Just Seen Jesus" was recorded as a duet, with long-time friend Rich Haldorson. Her son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Tami Ramsey, provide background vocals on several songs, and Joyce Anderson, who also served as the pianist for Shekinah, accompanies her on several songs as well.
"My pastor, Jeff Culver (of Assembly of God Church in Detroit Lakes) played guitar on three songs," Janice adds; pianist Deb Svensgard plays both keyboard and piano on the song "The Lord's Prayer."
For one track, Janice used the melody from the song "You Raise Me Up," but provided her own lyrics, and re-named the song "There's No Other Hope."
"I wanted the song to have more of an inspirational message -- it's just something I was inspired to do," she says.
Erik Vigesaa provided the orchestration for "There's No Other Hope."
To celebrate the CD's release, Janice Ramsey will be giving a free concert on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Assembly of God Church, located one mile north of Detroit Lakes on Highway 59. The concert will begin at 2 p.m.