Noteworthy: Scott Bosier’s path from the opera to the pastorate

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Scott Bosier, far right, performed in numerous operas, such as here at the Muddy River Opera in Quincy, Ill., before accepting a call to the pastorate. SCOTT BOSIER/Special

CANTON — Dressed in camo shorts and a t-shirt declaring Goonies Never Say Die, it would be difficult to pinpoint Scott Bosier’s rather dressed-up past.

The pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church, just south of Waleska, for a long time conducted himself as an established opera singer. He had the pipes to pull it off, too.

“I thought I’d do that for a career,” says Bosier, who was actually more into sports in high school. However, during his junior year his brother talked him into trying out for show choir. A tenor, he didn’t receive any formal training until his college years at the University of South Florida.

As a student at DePaul University, Bosier and his wife, Renee, settled into the Chicago area. While there he’d perform often such as in the Muddy River Opera in Quincey, Ill., as well as a half-dozen or so shows with the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

A move south

After the birth of their son, Scotty, the couple decided to move closer to family. His parents were planning on retiring in Blairsville; hers would soon move from St. Petersburg, Fla. They eventually settled in the Lake Arrowhood community in Cherokee County with Scott taking a job as a hospital administrator.

Always involved in church – Scott helped lead worship at their Chicago congregation – they soon became members of First Baptist in Waleska. It was also around the time Scott began to really wrestle with a call to the ministry.

As a student Bosier also sang with the DePaul University Opera Theatre. Today he serves as pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church near Waleska, a position he’s held since 2012. SCOTT BOSIER/Special

“I’d been involved in ministry but never planned on doing it vocationally,” he says. “My father-in-law accepted an interim position as pastor at Shoal Creek. Meanwhile, I’d been ordained into the ministry and had been looking for a pastorate in the area. After a few months, he asked me to join him as associate pastor.”

With the church unable to afford another staff member, Bosier and his father-in-law, Wayne Jacobs, agreed to split the $200-a-week salary. They’d keep that arrangement over the next year. At that point Jacobs proposed the two switch roles.

With a father in the Air Force, Bosier doesn’t really consider himself “from” anywhere. However, the time he’s had in Georgia with a son now a sophomore at Cherokee High in Canton has made the area as close to home as he’s experienced.

Around 15 worship attendees graced the pews of Shoal Creek when Bosier began. Now that number has climbed to 50 or so, he says. “The church has become reflective of the area around it,” he testifies, noting the growth of the Lake Arrowhead community. “They’re showing a desire to connect with those in our vicinity, but also engaging in global missions. I’m seeing a spiritual hunger in our church.”

‘Sing to the back of the house’

It’s not unusual for Bosier to lead worship at Shoal Creek. And yes, he’ll sing a special or two. His favorite hymn is “Be Thou My Vision.” But if you want to see something from his opera days, “O How I Love Him” would be more suitable.

Here having breakfast with the writer, Bosier has settled into his role as pastor but still finds ways to express his operatic skills during worship at Shoal Creek.

That hymn, he explains, is sung in the same tune of “O Sole Mio,” an opera favorite made popular by the late Luciano Pavarotti. “The words are different, but the sound is the same. It can be sung with operatic elements.”

Those elements teach how to proclaim your message loudly, a useful skill among preachers.

“[Opera] is mostly done without amplification, so you’re taught to sing to the back of the house,” Bosier adds. “In some ways it allows you to put a little more emotion into the song. It makes you more connected to the words.”

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