People in the pews/Gary Miller

Saturday, February 2, 2002

Dr. Gary Miller has been playing the pipe organ at First Presbyterian Church for about as long as the organ has been at the church.

Miller, who was a consultant for the church when it installed the pipe organ in 1983, now directs the choir and plays the instrument each Sunday for worship at the downtown church.

From his seat behind the organ keyboard, Miller can direct the choir during songs without having his every movement seen by the congregation.

The organ and choir loft are in the balcony of the church, so there is little need for microphones or amplification. And the choir doesn't distract anyone from worship either, he said.

Sound is easily projected from both the instruments and the choir from the balcony. "It's a blessing because you don't have to fiddle around with it on Sunday morning."

The choir at First Presbyterian performs more traditional and classical music than contemporary, but Miller said he tries to balance the styles of music the congregation hears.

If he plays something by Haydn or Bach, the congregation won't hear it again next week, Miller said. The song selections are typically coordinated with the sermon to be delivered by the Rev. Paul Kabo.

"Sometimes you hit that beautifully and not as you anticipated," he said. Other times it isn't possible to correlate the music and sermon topic. When Kabo speaks about Transfiguration Sunday, Miller and the choir have chosen an anthem about the love of Jesus, he said.

"It's a balancing act, but we just try enhance the worship as much as we can. It's an integral part of worship and the ministry of the church," he said.

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