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Area organists pipe up the tunes in spectacular fashion

March 03, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Kathy Ott, a member of the Chambersburg, Pa., chapter of the American Guild of Organists, plays "Improvisation on an Irish Air" Sunday during the Pipes Spectacular performance at Zion Reformed Church in Chambersburg.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Organ music is typically reserved for Sunday worship.

But members of the Chambersburg Chapter of the American Guild of Organists gave the often misunderstood instrument a chance to show off its versatility at “Pipes Spectacular.”

Area organists Tim Wertime, Carolyn Kerlin, Kyunghee Reed, Miriam Meglan, Helen Wingert, Gloria Massa, Kathy Ott and John Angle performed hand-selected pieces on the pipe organ at Zion Reformed Church UCC in Chambersburg on Sunday afternoon.

“People tend to think of the organ as Sunday morning music, but on our program, there’s a lot more to it than that,” said Carolyn Kerlin, dean of the Chambersburg Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

“It gives our members a chance to play something that they maybe wouldn’t play on Sunday morning, but also just to play some of our favorite pieces and to share them with everyone else,” she said.

Kerlin has been playing the organ for more than 30 years.

She said the organists chose their own pieces for Sunday afternoon’s recital.

Wingert, of Marion, Pa., secretary of the local guild, opened the recital.

“The pipe organ is such a versatile instrument that it can make many, many different sounds,” Wingert said. “And the different pipe organs sound different. So it is interesting to hear what the other organists do with them and the selection of music.”

Wingert is the organist for Central Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg.

About 100 people attended the free concert, which was open to the public.

“This is a good crowd,” Kerlin said.

Each organist played on the historic church’s pipe organ, which was installed in 1950.

It was built in Hagerstown by the M.P. Moller Co. as the company’s opus 8003, according to a news release from the organization.

The organ has three manual keyboards and a pedal keyboard, and 18 ranks of pipes with 1,300 pipes.

For Jane Jacobs of Fayetteville, Pa., the recital was a perfect way to spend her Sunday afternoon.

“It was absolutely wonderful. It swells your spirit,” Jacobs said of the recital.

She said the concert had a nice variety of pieces, including works by J.S. Bach and Louis Vierne.

Edna Miller and Melissa Meyers, both of Chambersburg, came to hear Angle, the organist from their home church, St. Paul United Methodist Church in Chambersburg, as well as the other organists in the recital.

“It’s stimulating. It’s spiritual, and (organ music) lifts you,” Meyers said.

Miller concurred, adding, “It’s inspiring.”

Dennis Reed’s wife, Kyunghee Reed, concluded the concert with “Now Thank We All Our God” by Sigfrid Karg-Elert.

“When it’s done right, I like all the moods you can hear as it’s played,” Dennis Reed said about the uniqueness of the organ. “You can express so much emotion — there are such a variety of different sounds that can be played.”

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