Monday, November 9, 2009

Voice Sweeter Than Wine

For people who normally see her working the windows of the Hawkinsville Post Office, most have thoughts like cheerful, pleasant, and efficient postal clerk. When they find out that Chris Sercer is a talented singer, one without fear of performing live on a stage in front of a large audience, they are usually blown away. (Chris Sercer, local Postal Clerk in the Hawkinsville Post Office, continues to chase the original dream, singing alone after the retirement of her parents, brothers and sisters from singing.)
Immediately when Sercer took the stage at the Old Opera House, it was clearly evident that she was no stranger to performing. Much like this writer, those in attendance were dumbfounded at the talent she brought to the stage. Immediately, this writer began to wonder about her background. Where did she come from? Where has she been? Nashville? Memphis? New York? When I heard her sing one of the best renditions of the great love song, “Unchained Melody,” I thought there must be a mystery involved here.
Later, during an exclusive interview with Sercer, I asked her what she did before she worked at the post office, a job she has held for the last four years? She smiled shyly, looking downward, before answering the question with a chuckle. “I helped my husband, Jerry, in his business as a land mover.”
“Huh? What did you do, keep books?”
With a burst of laughter she said, “No! I drove a motor grader, big tractors, and earth movers—just whatever needed to be done.”
“Okay! Let’s start over. Where were you born? Tell me about your childhood, your early life, who you married, and how long have you been involved in singing?”
In talking with Sercer, it becomes clear that she is a person who doesn’t take herself seriously. That is to say, she finds much about her past and present life as having a humorous vein. It is just as clear that she does take her music seriously. Sercer has been singing since she was eleven-years-old.
Born and raised in nearby Pineview, the local Postal Clerk continues to chase that dream of becoming a recognized star singer.
(L-R, In their prime as a country and gospel trio, Chris Sercer and her two sisters, Donna and Celia went further than most groups. They chased a dream all the way to Nashville and back to central Georgia.)
As young girls, she and her two sisters began singing, along with their parents and brothers in a family gospel group known as Southern Cross.
After her parents gave up singing, the three sisters continued, gradually beginning to sing country music under the new name of Papa’s Pride. With a great local following while playing in clubs, fairs and anywhere people wanted to hear good music, the sisters had an urge to take their talent on the road.
The trio embarked on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee in an attempt to become recognized in the country music field. It was an expensive lesson for three young women from small town America.
(Shown above with Chris Sercer is Vince Gill a country music legend.)
Around 1990, they admit to having been na├»ve when they undertook the trip to country music headquarters. Thinking that others would take them for what they saw themselves—good singers who wanted to record music—they seemed surprised that Nashville was full of young singers who were in search of a contract and a shot at the Grand Old Opry. Tiring of the grind with very little hope as a country trio, Sercer’s sisters, Donna and Celia decided they had had it with the grind of Nashville. The trio suddenly became a solo vocalist, Chris Sercer, who was not ready to give up the dream.
Sercer is the first one to admit that the road to stardom is one that can only be described as a rough and rocky road. “My sisters and I were all married with children,” Sercer said. “They were my best friends and still are, and I could never blame them for deciding not to pursue the dream any further. It is especially difficult if you are on the road and your family is back home. It is a lonely journey.”
After her two sisters decided to give up chasing the dream, Chris, continued to sing at every opportunity. When asked about American Idol—a popular reality television show—Sercer thinks it is a good idea for giving undiscovered talent an opportunity to become known. She has no ill feelings about having lost out in her bid to become a singer in Nashville. (Whispering Bill Anderson poses with our postal clerk.)

“I was represented by a group in Brunswick, Georgia for about a year,” she said. “They thought they could get me some chances in the country music capitol, but eventually they ran short of cash. I did sing once in the Charlie Daniels Roundup Talent Show, but was beaten out by a very talented singer. There is no question that she had the talent to win.”
Through it all, she has no remorse about trying. She said her husband, Jerry Sercer was always her biggest supporter—never wavering—bodyguard, chauffer, and fan. If she wanted to try out for anything, he was always encouraging her to do so. (Chris and her husband, Jerry Sercer have two sons and a granddaughter. Jerry is the owner of his own business as a land mover.)

(Shown in this picture are Chris Sercer and one of her favorite horses, Needle Rey.)
Today, the couple own better than 25 horses, a passion they share. Each year, they look forward to a trip to Oklahoma where they participate as a couple in the rodeo. In addition, Chris begins the festivities by singing the National Anthem. ‘It is a great honor, lots of fun, and something we look forward to doing each year,” she said.
Where does the singer/postal clerk go from here? “Wherever the road takes us,” she said. “Life is good! When the opportunity arises for me to sing, I do it. I always sing from the heart, so much the better if people find my singing enjoyable.”
After watching the energy she brings to the stage along with a voice that Nashville missed out on, there is little doubt among her supporters that she has many fans.

(One of those fans is Little Jimmy Dickens of the Grand Ole Opry.)
“She sings Patsy Cline songs better than Patsy did,” said Julie Stewart, booking agent extraordinaire for the Arts Council.
She has been a lead-in singer for the Hall of Fame country group, Alabama, T. G. Shepherd and others. .”
Off and on she has been chasing her dream for years. She has a CD album of her songs available for purchase. She continues to look for her big break. Until that happens, Chris Sercer will continue singing and working the window at the Post Office.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice article, would love to hear her perform. Wouldn't mind buying some stamps from her either.