Prospect recital to feature 110-year-old pipe organ

Stacy Kess

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St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Prospect will hold a pre-Christmas Organ Recital at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

Musician Keith Becker will play the 110-year-old Hinners Pipe Organ in a concert also featuring organist Linda Wolford, the St. Paul’s Hand Bell Choir and Chorus and director Kendra Martin.

The organ around which the recital is centered was built by the Hinners Organ Company in Pekin, Ill., for $988 and was installed and dedicated in 1903. It is a tracker action organ and has approximately 480 speaking pipes, both metal and wood.

Other than the occasional maintenance and repairs, the organ remains in its original condition. An electric motor runs the bellows, once operated by hand. The organ has wooden reeds, 480 pipes (the biggest is 16 feet tall; some are metal and some are wood), 122 keys, 27 bass note pedals, 15 controls that alter the sound and a “swell box” that controls the instrument’s volume. The controls also allow the instrument to use eight “ranks,” or sets of pipes.

Becker plays the organ for worship services and also plays in the hand bell choir, sings in the family choir and directs the men’s chorus for St. Paul’s.

“I’ve been blessed with the gift of music from God,” Becker said. “My goal each time I play is to inspire people through my playing and this gift of music.”

Becker said he tries to keep his organ playing away from conventional by using improvisation and modulation, as well as modern chords and techniques, which he has built as part of his repertoir since he received his master’s degree in music from The Ohio State University in 1975.

“My parents and grandparents nurtured my musical abilities and raised me to love the Lord and be a Christian,” he said. “I do not require praise and thanks. In turn, my praise and thanks go to God for his blessings to me and especially for the gift of music He has given me.”

The recital is open to the public and free will donations will be used for organ maintenance. Refreshments will be served following the recital.

The church is at Elm and Water streets in Prospect, on Ohio 203 just north of the Marion County line.


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