NORTH MANCHESTER — Zion Evangelical Luther Church has commissioned an anthem in honor of long-time Zion organist Robin Gratz.
It will be premiered at Zion, 113 W. Main Street, North Manchester, at 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, at 9:00 a.m. Robin and his wife, Fran, will join the congregation and other friends for the premiere, according to a news release from Zion Evangelical Luther Church.
At Gratz suggestion, the text is inspired by one of his favorites, Psalm 50, “The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.”
The piece was composed by organist David Sims, with whom Robin has worked. The anthem will be performed by Alan Chambers, the current Zion organist. Kira Lace Hawkins will lead the choir that accompanies the anthem.
Gratz first served as organist at Zion Lutheran as a Manchester College music student from 1966-70. Moving back to North Manchester after graduate work, he became Zion’s combined Organist and Choir Director in 1988. He ceased being Choir Director in 1998 but remained as Zion’s Organist for 25 years.
Gratz also held the position of College Organist at Manchester University, performing most notably as organist for the annual service of Lessons and Carols and accompanying the Manchester choir in its 2004 tour of Italy. He was also Manchester’s librarian for many years.
Gratz’s involvement in the North Manchester community also included a 2 1/2 year stint as organist at the Methodist Church and performances at other local churches. His long tenure at Zion Lutheran allowed him to serve many pastors, choirs, junior choirs, and for wedding and funeral services. Gratz often undertook the role of music director, choosing the hymns for weekly Sunday services.