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Rapid City Pastor Rosilee St. Nicholas returned to South Dakota after singing last month at the funeral of Randy Meisner, a founding member of the Eagles – one of biggest classic rock bands of the 1970s. St. Nicholas is a pastor at the Living Word Pentecostal Church.
So how did a pastor in Rapid City end up singing Amazing Grace with music star Vince Gill at the funeral of a member of one of the most iconic American rock bands?
St. Nicholas grew up in a strict Pentecostal family – her father a preacher in the Rapid City area. St. Nicholas was not exposed to television or music, outside of the gospel music that she sang. It was her gospel voice that landed her a spot at the Buffalo Chip during the 50th Sturgis Rally in 1990. She performed with Nick St. Nicholas at the event, her future husband. Nick was a founding member of the band Steppenwolf.
She moved to California where the two founded a band called the World Classic Rockers. It included musicians from some of the big bands of the 1960s and 1970s, and that’s where she met Meisner. The two toured together for about a decade.
“We had a pretty good relationship,” she told The Dakota Scout. “On the road, I kind of looked out for him. He was a very giving, caring person. He loved cars and old trucks. He was a farm guy.”
Meisner grew up on a farm in Nebraska.
The service for Meisner took place at the Troubadour, a legendary live music venue. Security was tight, St. Nicholas said, and guests were required to turn in their phones. The event was emceed by Eagles front man Don Henley.
Besides singing, St. Nicholas had a chance to address the group, which was limited to 61 people.
“I told them about the Gospel, I told them about Jesus,” she said. The service ended with the whole group playing “Take it to the Limit,” an Eagles hit that Meisner wrote.
For St. Nicholas, it was an opportunity to revisit a part of her life that she left behind 15 years ago.
“It was a time in my life,” she said. “I’m glad I did it. Of course, I love this more.”
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