Campaign to restore church's organ gets started

Saturday, April 30, 2005

For nearly 100 years, organ music has added another dimension to the sermons, Scripture readings and worship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

On Sunday afternoon, a benefit concert featuring organ selections, vocal pieces performed by guests from St. Andrew Lutheran Church and a brass choir will showcase the sound of the 95-year-old instrument. The concert is also the kickoff event for a fund-raising campaign to benefit both the church and Saxony Lutheran High School near Fruitland.

The concert will be at 4 p.m., and admission is free. An offering will be collected.

After 95 years of careful maintenance and tunings, the organ at Trinity is in need of restoration. The renovation project was introduced to the Altenburg congregation last week.

Organist Matt Palisch said few people realize how important the organ is as an instrument of worship. He's been playing for four years and studies music at Southeast Missouri State University.

"People don't know the power you have as an organist leading people in songs and praise," he said. The organ is the one instrument that can most closely mimic the human voice.

And at Altenburg, it's an instrument "that has a tremendous musical heritage," Palisch said.

The church has been playing the same instrument since it was installed in 1910. The church, founded in 1836, has a rich appreciation for sacred music, he said.

For many centuries, the pipe organ has been the primary instrument for accompaniment in congregational worship.

But as churches are moving to more contemporary worship services, the organ is exchanged for other instruments.

The congregation at Trinity knows its organ "is the heart of musical worship" and wants to restore the instrument. St. Louis Pipe Organs will be working on the restoration project. The firm has serviced the instrument over the years.

The benefit concert is the first of many possible fund raisers that will offset the project's cost. The local Thrivent Financial Services chapter will match funds donated at the concert. A reception will follow the concert in the school next door to the church.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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