Friday, October 30, 2009

Paul Otto Manz 1919-2009

The death of Paul Manz did not really surprise me -- the man was 90 years old! What has surprised me is my reaction to it. I have felt melancholy and sadness that some may say is out of proportion to the event. So, I've spent a little bit of time thinking about this.

I attended Minneapolis Lutheran High School with three of Dr. Manz' children. Dr. Manz brought some of them to school each morning because Mt. Olive, the church he served, was close by. During Advent and Lent our choir would travel to a number of congregations to sing during evening mid-week services. It was during one of those mid-week services that I first heard Dr. Manz at the keyboard. I was spell-bound. A year or two later, our choir director added the motet "E'en So Lord Jesus, Quickly Come," a simply elegant and exquisite composition. Again, during one of the mid-week seasonal services, we were at Mt. Olive. Dr. Manz was the organist and then as a surprise to us became the choir director for this favorite anthem the choir sang. I have never forgotten this experience of music and worship.

I remember the first time that dear husband (DH) worshiped at Mt. Olive and heard him play. I can still see his eyes wide open amazed at the wonder and beauty of what he was hearing. I think of Peter, Anne and Sara who where high school friends. In the late 80's or early 90's, Dr. Manz came to St. Petersburg where we lived and did a Sunday afternoon recital and hymn sing. And the artistry was so familiar and fresh at the same time. 

Yes, sad and melancholy. Lots of chords struck.


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