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Making a joyful noise on Market Street



Published: Sat, September 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The instrument has a few dents, but it soundswonderful.

By JEAN NEICE

VINDICATOR PHOTOGRAPHER

YOUNGSTOWN -- It is not what you would expect to hear on Youngstown's South Side.

Mike Menzies plays "Jesus Loves Me" on his baritone horn on the corner of Market Street and Woodland Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. Some people just zip by in their cars, some sing along, and some wave.

"I'm here to praise God and to make a little money," he said. "I won't lie."

"America the Beautiful" and "Onward Christian Soldiers" are some of the other melodies that fill the air on this street corner.

The 55-year-old man, who is legally blind, started playing the trumpet when he was 16, taking lessons in Rhode Island, where he grew up. His mother still lives there; his father passed away in 1993.

He plays only hymns and patriotic songs on the instrument, which has a few dents but sounds wonderful on this pedestrian-lonely street.

Menzies wheels his horn around on a suitcase cart given to him by the people at Fish Samaritan House on Market Street, and he plays on the property of ABC Extinguisher, who he said has given him permission to do so.

He lives right there on Market, and says he gives all the credit for his playing to Jesus.

Plays in church, too

Menzies also plays his music occasionally at his church, New Beginnings in Youngstown, says Dianne Yeager, the church secretary.

He plays the trumpet, baritone horn and the harmonica. Yeager said he is active in their church.

"Basically every time the church doors are open, he is here," she said, adding that he is active in evangelizing and Bible study groups.

His inability to see doesn't affect his playing, which he does from memory. On this empty corner, no one would even know, and the motorists getting just a moment of music don't seem to mind.




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