Hall Center For The Humanities


Dan Abrahamson
Organist, First United Methodist Church (Retired)

Voicing a Magnificent Pipe Organ
New Generation Society of Lawrence (NGSL members only)

Fri., Feb. 8, 2013, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont

The vice-president of the Reuter Organ Company, Mr. C.B. Russell, and his brother Mr. Lloyd E. Russell gave a new "state-of-the-art" pipe organ to the Methodist church as a memorial to their parents in 1938. It was later dedicated on March 20, 1939, by Dr. William H. Barnes, Mus. Doc., self described organ architect, and recitalist.  At the time of its installation, it was featured in an editorial by the same Dr. William H. Barnes in The American Organist and described as a "Reuter four-manual of unusual merit."  (The American Organist, 1938, p.233). Over a period of more than 50 years, Dan Abrahamson has maintained and expanded this instrument to 84 Stops, 123 Ranks, and 7,175 Pipes. Dan will talk about the history of the organ and demonstrate some of its uniqueness. Attendees will be seated in the choir loft to observe all elements in its playing.

At the age of seven, Dan Abrahamson began piano lessons. One Sunday, in his hometown of Appleton, Minnesota, the regular organist didn't show up for their Methodist Church service! He had never played the organ before, but was well known for his fine piano playing. The minister asked him to substitute for them that day and he enjoyed it. He attended Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, Illinois and graduated with a Bachelor of Sacred Music degree in 1959. The next two years were in the military serving as the chaplain's assistant and playing tuba in the band. Dan began work with the Reuter Organ Company in 1961 and played organ for First Presbyterian Church. In 1963 Dan became permanent church organist for the United Methodist Church. He retired as organist in 2006, but still substitutes frequently.

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