Fort Morgan United Presbyterian Church Celebrates Pipe Organ Centenary – Sterling Journal-Advocate


For 100 years now, the pipe organ at Fort Morgan United Presbyterian Church has glorified God through song and song. To celebrate her centennial, Cathy Bosley will give a concert on Sunday, October 17 at 2 p.m. at the church located at 1300 E. Riverview Avenue.

As it is well known that Presbyterians pride themselves on “doing things decently and in order,” it is interesting to note that in the minutes of the congregational meeting of April 6, 1921, “a committee of three women should be appointed to research finances, etc. for the pipe organ fund.

A signed, sealed and issued legal document, dated May 3, 1921, just one month later, specifies an organ to be built by the cashier-
Kent Organ Company of Erie, Penn. which consists of having “two keyboards and a 60-note pedal”, with electro-pneumatic action. Specific pipes are
named, in total 561, some of metal, some of wood, some of a combination of wood and metal, to be delivered in time for Christmas services. The total cost was to be $ 5,000.

Albert E. Kent of the organ company visited Fort Morgan before June 7, 1921 and assured the committee that work would begin as soon as Mr. Lytle (professor of music at Oberlin College) had submitted the specifications.

Records show that the organ was delivered via Union Pacific Railroad on November 29, 1921, weighing 12,000 pounds, and transported from the train depot to the church. Receipts from Farmers State Bank show that as of Dec. 19, $ 1,300.47 had been paid for the organ fund. The records do not reveal how the remaining funds were collected.

It is interesting to note that the organ has often been called “the organ of Glassey”. George Glassey is known as the “Father of the First Presbyterian Church”. He had the gift of a beautiful voice and an excellent musical education learned from his father who was a choirmaster in a Presbyterian church in Ireland. Taking part in musical creation in the early years of the Fort Morgan community was a great joy for him and his family.

A beautiful young organist from New York, Miss Josephine Camp, had recently come to the West for her health when the First Presbyterian Church was organized. She became the church’s first organist and musical director. The small pump organ in the Fellowship Hall of the present church belonged to him.

Church records and newspaper articles from the late 1800s call the organ “the best musical instrument in town.” It has been used for all types of music and vocal accompaniment, from the simplest hymn to choral performance of the oratorio “Queen Esther”…

Mrs. JM Lytle arrived at Fort Morgan in 1888 with her husband and served as church organist for over 30 years.

George Glassey’s great-granddaughter, Mrs. John Carr (former Lydia ‘Betty’ Glassey) has contributed her organist skills to every imaginable event held in the church for over 50 years.

Another gifted musician is Marlene Hansen, who performed from 1988 to 2008. Others who have served are Joanne Goodman, Lynne Ishmael, Sharon Atwell, Joan Parker, Paul Schonstrom, Paul Stever, Diane Nicklas and Cathy Bosley.

Bosley’s concert will feature a variety of melodies, including “Prelude in G major,” “Come down, oh divine love,” “Guide me, oh you, great Jehovah,” “Pastoral on“ Forest Green, ”“ “ Easy Winners “,” “” All Things Shining and Beautiful “,” Let All Things Live Now “and” O that I had a thousand voices. “There will also be a hymn with audience participation for two of his songs,” Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine! ”And“ I will fly. ”

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