LIMA — You would think that pipe organ music and football have nothing in common but in Lima, it’s a tradition.
The Lima area chapter of the American Guild of Organists has held a recital every Sunday during the big game for the past 30 or so years.
“The story goes that a recital was planned one year and it just happened to fall on this Sunday,” said Martha Hefner, dean of the organization. “It worked well because people got home in time to watch the game and they were entertained in the afternoon with great organ music so we just kept that tradition going.”
This year’s event was held at Market Street Presbyterian Church. In other years, it’s held at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Six organists were featured during the recital.
“Each of us chooses at least one number to play and we don’t plan what we’re going to play and so far there’s never been any duplication. There’s just a variety of music and we always end with Karen Joseph and Mary Jane Eichelberger playing a duet of the ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ and everybody loves that,” said Hefner.
“Yeah, we’ve been doing it forever. Oh, at least 15 years or so,” said Joseph.
Joseph is an organist at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Wapakoneta while Hefner is her assistant.
Besides the finale, Joseph entertained the crowd with “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation” by Robert Hobby and Henry Purcell and “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by George Frederic Handel.
Sandy Miller is the organist at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. She performed “Prelude and Fugue in E minor” by Jean-Sebastien Bach and “We Are Marching in the Light” by John Behnke.
“Originally we did it as a way to for those that were not particularly football fans, had something else to do on Sundays. I don’t know that that’s necessarily true anymore,” said Miller.
Many churches have dropped organ music from their services but members of the American Guild of Organists keep the music alive.
“If some churches want to go that direction, they’re entitled to go that direction but there are an awful lot of traditional services still at churches who delight in their pipe organs. It’s a very expensive piece of equipment and people love it and keep it up. It takes a lot of maintenance to keep a pipe organ going,” Hefner added.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.