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Opus 63

Posted September 11, 2013 in Community Featured, Clive
A toucan puppet named Dobbie is hidden in Faith Lutheran Church’s Dobson organ.

A toucan puppet named Dobbie is hidden in Faith Lutheran Church’s Dobson organ.

This year is a very special birthday for a very special instrument located at the heart of the Faith Lutheran Church worship sanctuary. Faith’s Dobson organ reached a 20-year milestone this year, and the importance of this large, encompassing piece continues to make an impact each weekend during worship services.

“I always like to say there are some bigger (organs in Des Moines) but none are nicer,” Faith Lutheran organist Bev Duffy says with a laugh.

According to the Faith Lutheran website, the construction for the pipe organ involved a five-year fundraising campaign to pay for the contract with the Lynn Dobson Organ Builder. The planning started in 1988 for the old Opus 63, which has undergone regular maintenance over the years to keep it in tip-top condition for Duffy to play during two worship services every Sunday as well as other special events throughout the year.

“There are organs in Europe that are 200 years old. If you maintain an organ, it should last for hundreds of years — at least 100,” Duffy says.

One of the organ’s unique features is “Dobbie,” a toucan puppet that is perched on the organ. Dobbie emerges when the nightingale stop is pulled. The puppet was named Dobbie after Dobson Pipe Organ Builders founder Lynn Dobson, who hand-painted the puppet himself.

“Mostly what we use it for is calling children forward to worship. They get a kick out of it,” Duffy says.

Duffy is the third person to serve as the church organist since the Dobson was installed at Faith Lutheran. She took the position in 2002.

“It’s just thrilling to have an instrument that leads worship,” she says. “The organ leads the hymns. We don’t have somebody who directs the congregation — the organ leads that. My very favorite thing in playing it is when we’re singing hymns or liturgy, and I hear the congregation really singing out. That’s just the best thing, because that’s why we play. We want to lead worship, and when people are pouring their hearts out in song, it’s just a thrilling feeling.”

For more information about Church services for Faith Lutheran Church, visit www.faithlc.org.

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