Local woman reflects on nearly 60 years with Roanoke church choir

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - The songs that can be heard inside one Methodist church in south Roanoke have a history.  

They're not only steeped in Christian tradition, but they've helped bring Roanoke communities together for decades.

Janet Knopf has been sitting in the choir at South Roanoke United Methodist Church for 59 years.

When asked if she had ever imagined herself still sitting in the choir in 2019, she laughed. 

"Absolutely not," Knopf said. 

"It's been a wonderful church. ... I've loved being in the choir," said Knopf. "The choir members are just delightful to be around, and we have a great time." 

Knopf came to Roanoke with her late husband in 1960 and started singing.

"We stayed right here and we've been happy ever since," Knopf said. "It's just been delightful."

This south Roanoke neighborhood is still home for Knopf. Her husband died, and she kept on singing. In this sanctuary, she still finds strength. 

"It's a lovely spot to be," Knopf said. 

"Oh, she's just amazing," Nancy Swartz, a fellow choir singer said of Knopf. "She's the most caring, outgoing person I know, and she always has a smile on her face."

Knopf says she plans to continue singing here for years to come.

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