Reported by Jennifer Livingston | bio | email | facebook | twitter
CASHTON, Wis. - The Saturday Mass at Sacred Heart in Cashton is underway. And at this service, like nearly every other service for the past several decades, sits a familiar face behind the music.
For 60 plus years, with one shoe off and one shoe on, Alverda Wiedemann has danced her fingers across the keys of many a church organ. "That's been my life most of my life."
Alverda actually started her love of music at 10 years old with the accordion. Then moved onto the piano. "I took lessons, piano lessons and practiced on an old pump organ and home cause I never really cared for piano."
The organ resonated in her soul like the final chord of a old church classic. "After that I loved the organ so I worked mowing lawns and in a restaurant and saved my money and bought that organ here. I had 10 lessons and from there...I took off. It took a little know-how and a lot of practice."
These days, Alverda plays for two different churches every week. Then there's choir practice. "And when the undertaker has a funeral...he calls." And don't even get her started on the number of weddings she's been a part of. "When I started playing for weddings I got a box of chocolate covered cherries. I got so sick about cherries I'd take them home and feed them to my grandmother."
She knows the standards like the back of her hand. "How great thou Art, Softly and Tenderly, Open My Eyes. There's so many I can't tell you all of them Jennifer."
And even after all these years, she still turns to her old friend when the hustle and bustle of life starts taking its toll. "Sometimes if I am busy and need just a little relaxation, I go to the organ."
"Does everyone in church know you? I'm afraid so. I don't know all of them but I think they know me. They had a party when I played 55 years and I thought if I could make it to 60 I'd do it. Well here I am. No plans of stopping? No. Not yet."