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Peter George has recently completed 50 musical years as a pipe organist at city-based St Paul's Church.
For pipe organist Peter George, the 101-year-old organ at St. Paul's Church in Camp, has been one of the only unwavering features at the church during his 50-year tenure. Claiming to be one of the few pianists in the country to spend this long a tenure at the organ bench, George has seen his congregation transform. From playing the organ at the funerals of friends to performing at parishioners' weddings, in the past half a century, he has seen it all.
Reflecting on his past years at St. Paul's, which was marked by a special service on July 1, George says he still remembers his first day at the church's grandiose organ. "I got scared sitting at the organ, my father was standing there watching. My right and left feet were shaking throughout the first hymn," he says. Yet, the opening line of that very first hymn, "every morning is the love, our wakening and uprising prove," has become his mantra over the years, as he has religiously risen from bed and taken straight to the organ every Sunday at 8 am. "Being an organist has become an inseparable part of my life. An organist is a person who is chained to the church without a chain. I have to be at the 8 am service. It's not a job you can call in sick to," he says.
A retired air force radio technician, George has been attending St. Paul's church since 1954, when he was just 12 years old. That same year he also began taking piano lessons, at the suggestion of his musically oriented family. "My father was a violinist and some of my cousins are organists in different parishes. I also sing bass. So because of all of those things I have always felt God in music," he says.
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