Concert raises funds for organ instrument repair

Published 11:45 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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At many churches, organ music is one of the most commonly held traditions. 

Attendees of Winchester First United Methodist Church at 204 S. Main Street will be happy to know that tradition continues. 

Following a recent benefit concert, community members have raised funds to help provide necessary maintenance work on the church’s 1923 Moller Pipe Organ. 

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“Our organ is over 100 years old, and we’ve had some major repairs lately,” said Brent Nicholas, Pastor of Music & Worship at WFUMC. “We decided that maybe a benefit concert would help.” 

Before long, plans were underway. 

Nicholas spoke with WFUMC’s organist, Dr. Larry B. Sharp, who contacted approximately ten colleagues associated with the American Guild of Organists (AGO) about utilizing the time and instrument to reward others with such music. 

Among the performers were Anne Willis, Gwen Frazier, Grant Holcomb, Lynn Vera, Mark de Alba, Mike & Nancy Dunn, 

A variety of genres were featured, including modern jazz and classical music by the likes of 18th-century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. 

Songs that others might recognize—such as “Nearer My God to Thee,” which was made famous in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster film Titanic—were also included. 

When all was said and done, $6,000 was raised towards necessary repairs. 

Though admission was free, much of the money raised came from offerings being made toward the cause. 

“We got lots of feedback from our Facebook page [and] people attending,” said Nicholas. “They didn’t realize that we even had a problem, so they were kind of shocked and surprised but more than willing to help out.”

The concert, which lasts just over one hour, can be viewed in its entirety at Winchester First United Methodist Church’s Facebook page or at

Nicholas believes that playing such music offers a unique opportunity for Clark County citizens. 

“I think it calls some attention to organ music. That’s not something people usually go to,” he said. “Big cities have organ concerts. Towns with colleges usually [have] concerts there…but not in a [town] like Winchester, so that was a neat thing to do.” 

Thanks to the newly donated funds, several parts, including the air chest that allows air to run through the pipes for improved sound, can be individually repaired. 

The last major overhaul of repairs took place on the organ in 1966, so Nicholas states that future hopes include a longer-term capital project.