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Seniors Got Talent

Resident Assistant at Morning Pointe of Lenoir City Shares the Gift of Gospel Music

photo of Kathy Tarter, Resident Assistant

Kathy Tarter, a resident assistant (RA) at Morning Pointe of Lenoir City, Tennessee, Assisted Living, is a former gospel music performer, and she has blessed her community by sharing that musical gift.


Kathy grew up as a pastor’s daughter and has sung in church “since I was old enough to carry a tune.” She remembers sitting at her little kid’s piano with an ash tray for a pretend pedal, surrounded by her congregation of stuffed animals. “I would play church,” she said. “I would preach and shout and get saved and sing to them.”

photo of Kathy Tarter as a child at her piano
Kathy Tarter as a child at her piano

In 1988, Kathy’s mother and stepfather started a gospel group called The Happy Hearts. “We were trying out different groups to see who would mesh good to form a group. A group had left some drums there for a while, and I got up there fiddling with them. My stepfather was like, ‘Would you be interested in playing the drums?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah.’”

Kathy met with another gospel group’s drummer, and he taught her two beats. She then expanded her rhythm repertoire.

“I have an ear for music,” Kathy said. “I learn by practicing and watching other groups.”

Her family started spending time with the members of The Admirations gospel group, and Kathy started playing drums for them. Sometimes she would also sing, and her range ran from soprano to alto and even tenor.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Kathy and her family toured with the group. “We went everywhere,” she said. “We opened up for some big people like The Isaacs, The McKameys, The Singing Cookes, The Bishops.”

Some of Kathy’s favorite memories are of traveling home from weekend singings on the bus with some of those groups. “Some of our best singing was on the bus,” she said. “Somebody would pull their guitar out, and they would start singing a song, and we would start pitching in. There would be Spirit flowing through the bus.”

Clinical Career

As she grew up, though, Kathy left behind being part of a touring group so she could pursue a career, and the career she chose was senior healthcare.

“When I was little, everyone was Mamaw or Papaw,” Kathy shared. “I’ve always loved old people sharing their stories. I feel that God made me this way because God doesn’t make mistakes – not to be a nurse or a doctor but to be a CNA/RA because that’s what I’m good at.”

Kathy started in 1993 as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in nursing homes. In 2001, she transitioned to private care, and later she worked for a continuing care retirement community. She came to Morning Pointe of Lenoir City in April 2023.

“I was looking at ratings and reviews, and I looked on LinkedIn, and I just thought I’d put an application in,” Kathy said. “I’m glad I did. I like the residents and my coworkers. We’re a really good team.”

Of course, music is a part of Kathy, and although she’s not with a formal group any more, she brings music to Morning Pointe.

“I walk around singing all the time,” Kathy said. “I get asked to sing in the dining room all the time. The residents love me singing. There’s one who hears me singing and will come out in the hall just to hear me sing.”

And it’s not just residents who respond. She also helped get CNA Cissy Page to start singing with her, when nobody had known Cissy could sing. Now, she even has the director of nursing, Rachel Kirkland, singing with them and harmonizing. “We’re going to have a Morning Pointe quartet before too long,” Kathy quipped.

One time, Kathy and Sissy were singing in the dining room. “The Spirit started flowing – you could feel it.” Cissy used the two-way radio to share the experience with another nurse in the building. He was with a resident, and the resident could feel the power of the music too and started raising her hands in praise.

“Music can make your mood go anywhere,” Kathy added. “To me, music is from the soul. I play, sing, joke and dance. A resident asked me one day, ‘How do you come in here every day so happy and positive?’ I said, ‘Because y’all make me happy.”

Kathy, thank you for sharing your music and positive spirit with our residents and associates.

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