Site last updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Log In

Reset Password
MENU
Butler County's great daily newspaper

Multifaceted organ allows versatile music at St. Peter’s

Organist Kathy Kemerer practices on the 1974 Zimmer organ at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Butler. Kamerer will give a free, public concert on the instrument at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, as part of the church’s 200th anniversary celebration. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

For more than six decades, the congregation of St. Peter’s Anglican Church worshipped to music resonating from a 1902 organ donated by steel baron Andrew Carnegie. But by the 1970s, the gift was hitting a few sour notes.

The instrument needed many repairs and did not possess the musical capabilities desired by organ experts who belonged to the church, said Daryl Kemerer, a church member and longtime organist.

So in 1974, church officials sent out bids to various organ companies, with Cornell Zimmer Organ Builders of North Carolina submitting the winning proposal to the church.

The specifications for the new organ were created by Kemerer, and the final design was the result of a collaboration between Kemerer and experts at Zimmer.

“We wanted it to be comprehensive and modern,” Kemerer said. “This organ can play extremely soft and loud sounds as well.”

He explained that the pipes in the Carnegie organ were not enclosed in the German tradition.

The Zimmer can use not only the old pipes, but a set of enclosed pipes in the opposite wall of the altar that has louvers to slightly stifle the sounds or raise the notes to heroic strains.

In addition to the two sets of pipes on the walls of the church’s altar, a unique set protrude horizontally from overtop the entrance to the church in the rear.

Daryl’s wife, Kathy Kemerer, a St. Peter’s member and longtime piano and organ teacher in Butler, said the gold pipes are Trompette en Chamade, and she knows of no other active churches in the county that use them.

“It’s a festive trumpet, so it’s very loud,” said Kathy Kemerer. “It’s great for weddings.”

She said the placement of the Trompette en Chamade in the rear of the church is referred to as “antiphonal” positioning because it is on the opposite end of the sanctuary from the organ’s main pipes.

Those interested in hearing the power and subtleties of the organ will have the opportunity to do so Saturday, June 29, when Kathy Kemerer will perform eight songs on the Zimmer, which has three keyboards and a footboard.

The free concert, which is open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Kathy Kemerer said she chose songs for the solo performance that will demonstrate the Zimmer’s musical flexibility.

“You need contrasting sounds, so I looked for melodies that are mellow and others that are triumphant so I can use the trompette,” she said.

Kathy Kemerer said the songs will represent organ music from the 1700s to the 20th century.

Daryl Kemerer said the organ is known as the King of Instruments due to the various sounds available to the organist.

“The organist is like a director with all the possible combinations of sound,” he said. “It’s the most versatile instrument that was ever designed.”

Daryl Kemerer wrote the program notes for the organ concert and included extensive information on each composer of the eight songs.

“We want people to appreciate the organ,” he said. “We want it to inspire Christian faith and enhance worship.”

The only Trompette en Chamade used in Butler County is in St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Butler. Those interested in hearing the unique pipes’ soaring strains can attend a free organ concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the church, which turns 200 years old this year. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Organist Kathy Kemerer practices on the 1974 Zimmer organ at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Butler. Kemerer will perform a concert on the instrument at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, as part of the church’s 200th anniversary. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Organ pipes of all sizes will ring out at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, where organist Kathy Kemerer will offer a free public concert as part of the church’s 200th anniversary celebration. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Three keyboards, multiple switches and a footboard are part of the 1974 Zimmer organ that keyboardist Kathy Kemerer will use to give a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at St. Peter's Anglican Church, 218 E. Jefferson St. The concert is part of the church’s 200th anniversary celebration. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Organist Kathy Kemerer practices on the 1974 Zimmer instrument at St. Peter's Anglican Church, 218 E. Jefferson St. Kemerer will perform a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the church, which turns 200 years old this year. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Daryl Kemerer holds the sheet music for his wife, organist Kathy Kemerer, as she practices on the 1974 Zimmer organ at St. Peter's Anglican Church, 281 E. Jefferson St. Kathy Kemerer will perform a free public concert on the instrument at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, in celebration of the church’s 200th anniversary. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Kathy Kemerer practices on the 1974 Zimmer organ at St. Peter's Anglican Church, 218 E. Jefferson St., where she will perform a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29. The concert is part of the church’s 200th anniversary celebration. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

More in Special Sections

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required
TODAY'S PHOTOS