You Know You're From...Rib Falls: 60 years on the organ
One Sunday service after the next...
"Everybody loves her," declared daughter Sharon Kreft.
Shirley Uekert arrives early at Zion Lutheran Church in Rib Falls...
"I'm a perfectionist," Shirley said with a smile.
...to practice her hymns before service begins.
"I don't want to go to church not knowing what I'm playing."
Her routine for more than 60 years.
"What a blessing she's been to this church," said Pastor Terry Reich.
Shirley had only played the piano since she was a child. But the opportunity to play the organ at church was one she felt compelled to take.
"There were two organists at the time. One was very good and the other...not," Shirley said with a chuckle.
So she won the job, and taught herself to play the organ.
"Only difference is on the piano you have to pound your hands on the keys. On the organ, you keep your hands on there and slide them."
For the last six decades, her melodic sounds have filled the congregation.
"The level of competency on the organ up there and the excellence she shows in playing is remarkable for anyone at any age," Said Reich.
"The fingers going at the same time, the feet going, the notes being read. I don't know how anyone ever processes that all at the same time," Kreft added.
86 (years old) is just a number, not a state of mind.
"I could see her playing at 90 real easily up there on the organ," Reich claimed.
"They just keep telling me you better be here forever," as Shirley laughs.
One Sunday service at a time.