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Antique organ concert returns to Schubert church

Antique organ concert returns to Schubert church

July 27th, 2017 by Michelle Brooks in News

Rev. Gerald Scheperle is seated at one of several antique reed organs in St. John's Lutheran Church in Schubert. There will be an antique reed organ concert Sunday at the church.

Photo by Julie Smith /Fulton Sun.

SCHUBERT, Mo. — The nostalgic sounds of the antique reed organ will fill the sanctuary at St. John's Lutheran Church in Schubert at 2 p.m. Sunday.

And one individual will receive the rare opportunity to "adopt an organ."

Five ornate reed organs, two melodians and two small field organs will be played by a variety of musicians in the sixth Antique Reed Organ Concert, hosted by the church since 1989.

"The reed organ is a part of the American fabric," said the Rev. Gerald Scheperle, who also is the caretaker for most of the featured instruments. "Many people have memories of growing up with it at church or their grandparents had one."

Popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the pump-style organs are acoustic and expressive, Scheperle said.

Ken and Annette Kehner are writing a piece specifically for the instrument and will be the featured performers. Other musicians will include Keith Bohl, Samuel Luetkmeyer, Elizabeth Raj, Rachel Scheperle, and William and Christina Whipple.

Some selections will use the antique instruments as accompaniment to other instruments, including violin and piano. Other pieces were written to be played on the reed organ, such as those of Polish composer Janacek.

Others will be adapted church music.

The concert's overall theme will reflect on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, particularly in variations on "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther.

Attendees may put their name into a drawing to take home one of the reed organs featured in the concert with the promise to take care of it.

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The typical parlor organ built in 1909 by Monarch Organ Company formerly was owned by John and Becky Engelbrecht. Scheperle made some minor repairs and replacements, and the Victorian-style cabinet has been refinished.

"A lot of these organs are looking for homes," Scheperle said. "It's hard to get them into places where they are appreciated."

The oldest instrument in the concert is a double-manual melodian from the 1860s made in New York by the George Prince Company.

Making their first concert appearance is a pair of LoDuca Brothers field organs, which will be placed in the side balconies to provide an antiphonal sound. The field organs were commissioned by the U.S. Army for chaplains during the Vietnam War, Scheperle said. They were also popular with missionaries.

A freewill offering will be collected to support Portuguese missions.

Those who travel from Jefferson City are encouraged to take the Lisletown exit and double back to the Schubert exit, due to bridge construction.

For more information, call 573-395-4591.

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