ASCAP Songwriter Janie West Metzgar honored by the Nashville Association of Print Publishers

ASCAP songwriter, Janie West Metzgar [deceased] was honored this week in Music City by the Nashville Association of Print Publishers for her songs which appear in almost every denominational hymn book. The writer and arranger of such Baptist hymns as “Jesus Breaks Every Fetter, Where The Roses Never Fade, and Job's God Is True” has a 75 year history at ASCAP with her famous producer son, Robert Metzgar in Nashville.
By: Entertainment Headline News Nashville
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Janie Metzgar 2013 Print Publishing Award
Janie Metzgar 2013 Print Publishing Award
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - July 24, 2013 - PRLog -- Fairfield, TX – Dallas, TX – Nashville, TN -- The Nashville Association of Music Print Publishers honors Janie West Metzgar this week for having had over one million copies of her song,  “Jesus Breaks Every Fetter” printed in various hymnals in some 14 denominations and translated into over 45 different languages.  One of the first members of ASCAP, Mrs. Metzgar’s songs have been published in hymnals throughout the United States and all over the world.  Mrs. Metzgar was a singer/songwriter having her first songs published in the early 1920’s as piano arrangements in sheet music form, and later in hymnals with shaped notes for choirs. This award recognizes that her songs have just passed the one million mark in printed arrangements in church hymnals worldwide.      Janie West Metzgar was an orphan raised in the Buckner’s Baptist Orphanage in Dallas, Texas.  She began writing hymns at age 12.  Mrs. Metzgar’s songs were printed and first freely published as a songwriter in the Jack Coe Tent Revival songbook (1948) as a young woman.  *See    Janie Metzgar led the choir at the Jack Coe Revival Center in Dallas, Texas and graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  Janie Metzgar became an English teacher who taught school in a one room school house in Fairfield, Texas.  Many of her writings and songs (1930’s) have been discovered in letters and writings found by ASCAP lawyers and orphanage officials and turned over to her ASCAP songwriting son, Robert Metzgar in Nashville in the past few years.  Early in her printed music career, B. B. McKinney, the music editor for Broadman Press in Nashville saw her songs as music that would be a blessing to a universal audience and printed them in 1952 in the Southern Baptist Publishing house in Nashville.  These songs have been copyrighted and the rights renewed and extended by her son’s publishing company Aim High Music (ASCAP) and all those rights have been reserved in full by Mr. Metzgar who is a well known producer in the Music City.  Today the Broadman Press is known as Lifeway and Lifeway Stores, the official arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.    Mrs. Metzgar married William Douglas Metzgar who was converted to Christ in a revival led by Robert Hankins in the school house where Janie Metzgar taught her students in Freestone County.  Mr. Metzgar became the first person in his family to convert to Christianity.  Mr. Metzgar’s family had immigrated to the United States from Hamburg, Germany.  (The word Metzgar means the local family grocery store) The family was orthodox Jewish in their faith prior to leaving Germany.  The Metzgar family boarded a boat with nothing but the clothes on their back the day Poland was invaded in WWII.  They came to the United States on a ship through Boston harbor.  Transferred to Ellis Island, Mr. Metzgar wrote a song about the experience called “Lady Liberty” celebrating the Statue of Liberty and what it meant to their family.     The family settled in Fairfield, Texas and there they raised their family.  They farmed the black land dirt on the East Texas river bottom,  south of Dallas just 35 miles.  The Fairfied Recorder Newspaper published a record of Mr. William Metzgar’s conversion to Christ and 35 other men in the community that gave their lives to Christ during the inspired preaching of Methodist evangelist Robert Hankins.  Mr. Hankins later became a minister in the Assemblies of God church.    Mrs. Metzgar had five children.  Billy Jack Metzgar (Bedford, TX)   Jonathan David Metzgar (Winterhaven, Florida)  Baby Janie Metzgar (died of spinal meningitis ) Robert Douglas Metzgar (Nashville, Tennessee) and Leslie Paul Metzgar (Houston, Texas).  Jonathan David Metzgar is now deceased.  He was an associate pastor and elder in the Cypress Cathedral for over 20 years at the time of his death.    The story of how this orphan child, Janie West Metzgar wrote these incredible songs is just amazing.  It is even more amazing that the Baptist publishing house, Broadman Press in Nashville began to print and publish her songs as early as 1952.  Janie and her brother Archie were abandoned on the steps of the Baptist orphanage at just 14 weeks.   Both children, were brought to the orphanage in Dallas and were placed on the “west” side of the chapel steps early in the morning in potato baskets.   All the two children had on them were little paper notes that said, “Janie, baby girl” and “Archie, baby boy.”  They were wrapped in newspaper and a small blanket.   Janie was just 14 weeks at the time she was left at the orphanage.  The two children were given the last name of “West” because they were found on the west side of the chapel.  Their father was killed in an accident and their mother died in child birth.  In the middle of the nation’s horrible depression, no one had the resources to raise these children.  The Baptists took the children in and raised them.    Mrs. Metzgar started to write songs (in the orphanage) at the age of 12 and continued to write songs until she became so severely ill with leukemia that she was just not able to write in the way she had as a young person.  She was a beloved singer of gospel music and often was called upon to sing at conventions and other places where there were large gatherings of people who sang worship hymns.  A focus for Janie Metzgar’s songs was the black civil rights movement.  Mrs. Metzgar marched in hundreds of marches.  She had a deep conviction in her heart that segregation was a “sin” and an evil plague from reading the Bible.  It was a focal point in her songwriting as well.  You will find the underlying thoughts of a woman who saw segregation and civil rights as God-given rights to all people in her songs.  All races and people were equal under God's law in her beliefs.    When the Vietnam war came along, Mrs. Metzgar was an extremely active anti-war protestor who often marched wearing a black arm band to show her displeasure with the war in Vietnam.  On one occasion her son Robert Metzgar (1966) was in Midland High School at the very height of the war.  He was in his Midland, Texas class room when another student suddenly disrupted their history class with, “Hey there’s a little tiny lady outside the school marching with a big sign and a black arm band.”  The class all ran over to the window to look.  “The sign says Jesus died too.”  Upon going to the window to look outside, Robert said, “OMG that’s my mother marching out there.”  Captured by the local newspaper in Midland as a war protestor, and featured in photographs and on television, she became an instant celebrity in Midland for her sign, “ Jesus died too.”    Her husband’s church, the First Assembly Of God of Midland, Texas was soon filled to capacity with the people converted “in the church that Janie built.”  She was so popular as a pastor's wife,  that she often signed autographs and was called upon to speak at churches and large functions of the Assemblies of God and Southern Baptist churches all over the United States.  The church became the focal point for gospel singing that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.  The Oak Ridge Boys, the Gatlins, the Statler Brothers, the Blackwood Brothers and other gospel groups made regular appearances at the church along with a host of very famous evangelists and the church grew to the point it was the largest missions giving church in the West Texas District of Assemblies of God churches.     Diagnosed with leukemia at an early age, Janie West Metzgar was inspired to trust God for her healing through the ministry of Jack Coe, Sr. an enormously popular faith healer just ahead of Oral Roberts.  Mrs. Metzgar led the choir at the Dallas Revival Center where they bussed in hundreds of people every Sunday similar to the way the super churches do it today.  They were 20 years ahead of Dr. Osteen.  Doctors gave Mrs. Metzgar no hope of recovery and she suffered intense pain for many years even in remission.  She had migraines that lasted for days and she would take spells where she threw up and vomited for several days and bed rest was the only thing that helped her.      Her desire for God to heal her of this illness is deeply touching as you read through her 5 year daily diaries of songs, personal notes and her love for her husband.  She often went to sleep in his arms and he held her through the night when she was so extremely ill. “I was an orphan and no one loved me like my husband William,” she wrote in her closing days facing death.  Her death from breast cancer after enduring 4 major operations was one of both joy and physical suffering.  She was only 90 pounds when she passed away in San Angelo, Texas.      Janie West Metzgar has been the recipient of several awards and literary achievements. This award for a million copies in print of her song, “Jesus Breaks Every Fetter” will be a lasting tribute to the tiny lady with a sign “Jesus died too.”    For further information on the songs of Janie West Metzgar please contact her son    Robert Metzgar, GM  Capitol Management Group  330 Frankln Road  Brentwood, TN 37027-3282  800-767-4984 (toll free)  615-321-0600 (main)  615-338-4497 (fax)

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Tags:Janie Metzgar, Ascap, Robert Metzgar, Aim High Music, Nashville Songwriter, Baptist songs
Industry:Entertainment, Family, Music
Location:Nashville - Tennessee - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Jul 24, 2013

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