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March, 2006 - Nr. 3


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Scholtes donate Pipe Organ

by Herwig Wandschneider

Herwig Wandschneider

When Pastor Kevin Walrath planned the building of the Messiah Lutheran Church in Waterloo in the early 1990’s, he encouraged the designers to include space for a pipe organ they could not afford at the time. Little did he and the congregation know that 13 years later, the vision would be realized.

The Scholtes and the pipe organ   [photo: Herwig Wandschneider]On February 19th, a Sunday afternoon, the church celebrated the completed installation of the Pipe Organ, generously donated by Nellie and Waldemar Scholtes. The concert was held to honour the Scholtes’ gift – now clearly in view of the entire congregation - and they both helped to inaugurate it. Waldemar played the organ, which he - 20 years earlier - had painstakingly put together in his own living room and his wife Nellie sang several hymns in her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice to a full house.

Nellie holds an Honours B.Music in Performance Voice from Wilfrid Laurier University. She sang with the Canadian Opera Company, maintained a private music studio teaching voice and piano, and was an adjunct professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. Nellie sings professionally with the Elora Festival Singers, one of Canada’s finest professional chamber choirs, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Mendelssohn Singers. She commenced as Director of Music at Bethel Lutheran Church in September, 2005.

Waldemar Scholtes completed his BA in German, English and History at Wilfrid Laurier University, then graduated with a Ph.D. in German from the University of Waterloo. Waldemar is primarily self-taught as a pianist and instrumentalist. He was a founding member of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto and served as chorister with the Canadian Opera Company. He also studied music and graduated with an Hons. B.Music from Wilfrid Laurier University. He learned to play the organ with Barrie Cabena and conducted with Howard Dyck. Currently, Dr. Scholtes is Assistant Professor of German at the University of Guelph

The pipe organ has its own extensive history. From its use, then storage, at the Wheatley United Church in Wheatley, Ontario to assembly in the Scholtes’ living room, where Waldemar played it for several years - he insists they never played it after midnight. From subsequent disassembly, transportation to the church, painstaking re-voicing and fixing "stuff" by Pastor Walrath to final installation in the prepared space, high above the altar, by many members of the congregation. Finally, finally, after years of hard labour and sweat, they succeeded to give the church and its congregation this joyous moment of officially inaugurating this beautiful instrument.

The Scholtes’ donation and the effort to bring the organ to this dignified position was jubilantly celebrated and will give the congregation many years of pleasure.


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