Our Saviour’s Lutheran celebrates its organ anniversary and two musicians
by Jane Lightbourn • Staff writer
For 25 years the Holtkamp pipe organ at Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has been an integral part of the worship services and other occasions there. Almost as long, the Yamaha grand piano has also led the services.
This Sunday, Oct. 26, the church and the community are invited to attend a music celebration at two special events celebrating music.
A special hymn festival, led by Dr. John Ferguson, will be part of the regular 9:15 a.m. worship service; at 4 p.m. church organist Diane Pearson and her sister, Dr. Nancy Parker, will present a joint piano and organ recital.
In 1989, the church was observing the construction of its new sanctuary.
Months before, an organ committee had been formed, with Ferguson as the consultant. At that time, he was a St. Olaf professor of church organ and music.
“Ebba Hoffman (then the president of Smead Manufacturing Co.), gave a large gift in memory of her son, John Peter,” said Pearson. “Church members also donated funds for the organ purchase.”
The organ was dedicated in April 1989. This Sunday’s festival will celebrate the anniversary.
“With a hymn festival, it is part of the worship service with different types of hymns,” said Pearson. “The organ becomes a reflection of the hymns.”
She said Ferguson is “very creative” on the organ, and that will be highlighted Sunday. The organ will convey the text’s from the hymns, achieving a meaningful experience for the congregation.
Sunday is Reformation Sunday and the popular hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” is part of the worship service. The organ will “sing” the third verse; with the congregation concluding with “God’s word shall ever abide.”
When the organ committee was making its selection 25 years ago, it toured five places where there they could actually hear both electronic and pipe organs, said committee member Diane Nelson. When the committee made its determination, there was unanimous agreement.
“Everyone agreed,” she said. “They liked the sound of the pipe organ.”
This pipe organ is fit for this church area and designed for it, said Pearson.
It has, and continues to serve the church well. And she enjoys playing it.
“It is wonderfully satisfying,” she said. “It is as well-rounded and valued today as it was 25 years ago.”
For Pearson, church music has been an important part of her life for many years.
“I felt called to do this work and feel privileged to be part of the spiritual and worship service, as well as the other occasions – baptisms, weddings, funerals.”
The grand piano was added to the sanctuary space in 1990 through the general gift of Larry and Jody Hoffman. They donated the Yamaha grand piano in memory of their stillborn son, David Joseph.
The music will continue at the church at 4 p.m. when Pearson and Parker, an adjunct professor of music at Bethel University, Concordia University and St. Cloud University play their first joint recital.
There will be some of their favorite hymns, some Bach jazz and Chopin.
The recital will be about an hour in length.
Refreshments will be served afterward.
Both events are free and open to the community.
“It is a day of celebrating the gifts to the congregation,” said Pearson.