Manz organ series fundraiser

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

The Paul Manz Organ Series is hosting its first fundraiser in order to keep the series running.

The Paul Manz Organ Series, which is now in its seventh season, is a lunch time musical performance that takes place from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th St. and attracts between 30 and 45 guests at each performance. The school’s artistic director Thomas Wikman and other organists from around the world visit to perform on the chapel’s pipe organ, which is named for renowned composer Paul Manz and his wife Ruth.

The series’ board of directors is hoping to raise $5,000 by Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

“Over the years, the board of directors were able to glean steady contributions but giving decreased with the dip in the economy,” Wikman said.
He said he wants to keep Paul Manz’s legacy alive and continue to invite the community into the chapel to view the organ.

In 2004, The Lutheran School’s Augustana Chapel was remodeled for the pipe organ, which was created by Utah-based organ building company M.L. Bigelow.

Wikman said the chapel has great acoustics and the organ is beautiful to look at.

“[Guests] can now see the organist playing where traditionally the organ is hiding behind a pillar,” Wikman said. “It’s now possible to walk into the middle of audience and tell them what you are going to play.”

Wikman said while some organists play gimmicky, commercialized songs to attract visitors to their performances; only serious organ music is played during the Paul Manz Organ Series. He said there is plenty of original material for the organ.

“Next to the piano the organ has the most solo music,” Wikman said. “[Johann Sebastian] Bach alone has written over 26 hours of music for the organ.”

To donate to the Paul Manz Organ Series visit thomaswikman.org or mail to Thomas Wikman, Artistic Director Paul Manz Organ Series 5458 S. Everett Ave. Chicago, IL 60615-5962

d.phillips@hpherald.com