Caycee Hatchette of First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit, did not have a clue when she finished sixth grade and headed to the youth department that she would not miss a choir practice or any summer choir trip until she graduated from Lee’s Summit High School in May.
What youth can say he or she will know where they will be every Sunday evening at 5 p.m. for six years? “Honestly, at first I simply made youth choir a priority,” she said. “And then when others started commenting after I never missed for a couple of years, it became a contest to see if I could reach the goal.”
Caycee was attracted to choir for several reasons. Although she didn’t sing before seventh grade, her older sisters, Caitlin and Cassidy had been involved. “Most of all, Randy Buffington, minister of music/arts, always made it really fun. Jeff Arnold, minister to students, was always encouraging,” she said.
Her parents, Cliff and Donna Hatchette and Janice Hatchette, have always supported her efforts. She said she has not felt the need for private voice lessons as a soprano because of the instruction she received at First Baptist.
Caycee noted youth choir mission trips each summer afforded her tremendous opportunity for performance and mission action. This summer they worked and performed in local churches, a youth prison and a crisis pregnancy center in Orlando, Fla.
“Randy always makes sure we experience fun, too, before we return home; this year we went to Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios,” she said.
She counts service at Lower Brule’ Lakota Indian Reservation near Sioux Falls, S.D., two years ago as her most memorable youth mission trip. The choir group stayed on the reservation and performed, repaired the church building on the reservation and led Backyard Bible Clubs.
“Never have I felt more used by God, nor felt our mission efforts more needed!” she said. On the way home, the group visited Mt. Rushmore.
Now at 18, Caycee said, “I have attended FBC, Lee’s Summit, since I was born.” She accepted Christ as an 11-year-old with her mother after Vacation Bible School.
About her personal relationship with God, she said, “Recently it has become much stronger. Just this summer at Windermere while attending Christ in Youth Camp, I learned to trust God as I haven’t before.”
Since camp, she has challenged herself to study the Bible every day — usually in the afternoon when she gets home from work babysitting for two families.
This fall, she’s off to the University of Kansas in Lawrence where her sisters have gone. She plans to major in elementary education and hopes to teach third grade.
Will she continue singing in a choir? “During high school I was very involved in student government, so that may be my activity choice; but you never know,” she said.
When asked to name her favorite singer, she hesitated and then said Chris Tomlin. Another favorite is Phil Wickham. Her solo and trio singing memories include “We Are” by Kari Jobe and “Who is God?”
Caycee giggled when recalling her most humorous memory from her youth choir days.
“It has to be this past year. Our director, Randy, challenged us that if 40 kids came to Opening Choir Kickoff, he would shave his head,” she recalled. “We had 40 kids so he did. We signed it [his head] with Sharpies, and he wore it the entire evening, including to church.”