East Texas Pipe Organ Festival returns after extended hiatus

The featured organ at the First Presbyterian Church of Kilgore has been fully restored and sounds as good as new.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 3:32 PM CDT
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - It’s back. The East Texas Pipe Organ Festival is making its return to East Texas for the first time since 2019. And, the featured organ at the First Presbyterian Church of Kilgore has been fully restored and sounds as good as new.

Founding Director of the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival Lorenz Maycher points out that pipe organs are not, for the most part, portable. So, the festival takes place at several East Texas churches, beginning with the First Presbyterian in Kilgore.

“There’s one event here every day, Sunday through Thursday; three events at St Luke’s Methodist which is right down the road, two blocks away; three events at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Shreveport; and then two at First Baptist of Longview and one at Trinity Episcopal in Longview,” Maycher said.

Lorenz and First Presbyterian Organist and Choirmaster Gala Strunk are excited the festival has returned home.

“I basically feel like I’ve lost the entire last two years,” Maycher said.

Last year’s festival was held in New Orleans since the Presbyterian’s organ was in pieces until January. They’re glad to have it back.

“Oh, it’s wonderful. They have enjoyed the organ being back in service, and we’ve used it several times for concerts, so it’s just a wonderful experience for everyone to hear the instrument,” Strunk said.

All but one of the organs were built by the same company to audibly fill varying amounts of space in each church. That attracted over a dozen professional organists from across the country.

“Registration fees don’t begin to cover the fees of the organists,” Maycher said.

But, he said there are generous donors adding to the coffers of the festival’s nonprofit. Maycher said by the time the six-day event is over, he will be ready to get away from organ music for a couple weeks and listen to something different.

“Yeah, easy listening, definitely,” Maycher said.

If you’d like more information about the East Texas Organ Festival that runs Nov. 6 through 10, click here.