Community United Methodist Church to dedicate new organ on Dec. 4

Photo courtesy Community United Methodist Church
A new organ recently installed at the Community United Methodist Church recently will be dedicated on Dec. 4. Pictured in back, left to right, are Sally Neel, Kathy Isberg and Nancy Bush. In front are Rick Seaton and Sarah Riehm.

Community United Methodist Church

Last month, the Community United Methodist Church (CUMC) installed a new organ in its sanctuary. The new instrument is a three-manual Rodgers electronic organ, installed by Church Organs of Colorado, based in Denver. The instrument will be dedicated in worship on Dec. 4 at both the 8:15 and 11 a.m. services. 

“This new instrument has lots of bells and whistles that will greatly enhance our worship experience,” said organist Sarah Riehm. “The organ’s internal computer provides almost countless varieties of organ stops and solo instruments. As an example, the solo flute and oboe sound like an instrumental soloist is live in the room. The organ can also replicate the sound of an English cathedral organ, French Romantic-era organ or German Baroque instrument.” 

The old organ, a 1970s vintage Johannus organ, died about two years ago, and it was too old to find replacement parts to repair it. The response to the fundraising drive last August was swift. Within 30 days, the congregation raised enough money for this new instrument, which will be among the finest church organs in Southwest Colorado. 

The lead gift came from the Pagosa Springs Girls’ Choir. 

“When the Girls’ Choir dissolved, we had money to donate,” said Linda Price Parker, choir director at CUMC and former director of the Girls’ Choir. “The board wanted to do something that would create a legacy for all the girls, parents and board members who had been part of the choir. We are thrilled to have helped this beautiful instrument become a reality for the church. Community UMC was so generous to the Girls’ Choir, allowing us to have our concerts there. It was a joy to give the money to such a worthy cause.” 

“This amazing new electronic wonder will be a great addition to the musical palette of CUMC,” according to CUMC Music Director Kathy Isberg. “We are fortunate that not only did the seed money from the former Pagosa Springs Girls’ Choir provide a healthy jumpstart in providing for its purchase, but also that many generous church members contributed so freely to accomplish its acquisition. In addition, we are fortunate to have a very accomplished musician and church member who has the expertise to play it.” 

CUMC wishes to thank all the donors that made this possible.

CUMC hopes that this instrument will provide a centerpiece to present high quality music for the entire community for years to come. 

“Our downtown location, along with the outstanding acoustics in our sanctuary, offers a perfect venue for community-wide musical events,” said Riehm. “We have a number of concerts planned for the future, including a dedication concert in June 2023 featuring a variety of community musicians — plus Lenten meditation services, a community hymn sing, an all-Bach program for organ aficionados — even a Halloween special featuring all your spooky favorites!” 

“We are thrilled to be dedicating our new organ on Dec. 4,” said Pastor Leighton Mekeal. “Psalm 149 reminds us to ‘praise the Lord with a new song, with tambourine and lyre and dancing’ — and a new organ! Music has always been a central part of worship and praising God. We see this instrument as a gift to our church family, but also to our community at large.” 

All are invited to welcome this new member of Pagosa’s musical family. Please join us on Dec. 4.