GREEN BAY (NBC26) — Churches around the country are struggling to keep the melody of the church alive. For centuries, the pipe organ has been at the heart of worship services, but as the years go on there has been a shortage of those able to play.
Father John Griotti has been a priest for 20 years and has seen parishes of all sizes struggle.
“The organist shortage is very real,” said Father Griotti, “I always encourage young people to learn the organ because it is a very majestic instrument.”
According to the American Guild of Organists, there are about 75 organists in the Green Bay area. However, with 169 parishes, many churches still find themselves without an organist to play at their services.
“We try to keep everything real; we don’t have recorded music; we have real flowers,” said Father Griotti, “So if we don’t have an organist, we have someone play the piano, or some will sing acapella.”
One of the organists who has dedicated her life to the king of the instruments is Jody Strnad.
Strnad has always been around music, but it wasn't until 9th grade that she really got serious about learning the pipe organ.
“It was out of necessity. The church I went to needed an organist, and the sisters, I think, saw something in me,” said Strnad.
Throughout the years, Strnad's appreciation for the instrument has only grown stronger. “Knowing that you get to help people with their prayer, and lift their voices to God, there is a rush to it.”
And her relationship with God only grows closer.
“Organs are in a church, right? And sometimes when you are playing, and you are all alone, you know that God is there, and you get to play for him.”
For more information on how to get pipe organ lessons, apply for a pipe organ position or to join the Northeastern Wisconsin American Guild of Organists, visit newago.org.