Linda Balsiger and Cathie Cordis have been playing music together at their church, First United Methodist Church of Guthrie, for 20 years. The mere fact that the two have played together at the same church for this long is a huge accomplishment, but the fact that they are mother and daughter make it even more special.
“I’ve been playing piano for years and I’ve been playing here since I can remember. In 1969, I decided I wanted to learn how to play the organ. I took organ lessons as well as classes through OCU (Oklahoma City University) to learn how to do the pedals better. I have been playing the organ at the church for 43 years,” explained Balsiger.
Cordis, Balsiger’s daughter, has been playing piano since she was a young girl. She began playing piano at the early service at First United Methodist Church of Guthrie in 1996. In 2008 she got the opportunity to play as the pianist with her mom.
“In 1996 our church started an early service and the preacher at the time asked me to play the piano for our early service on a volunteer basis. In 2002 or so, The Noble Avenue Baptist Church needed a pianist just for the summer. That lasted five years and so for five years I played two services at two different churches. In 2008, I got the opportunity to play piano with my mom here,” shared Cordis.
On June 1, the pair who have been playing for 69 combined years and 20 years as a pair at the church, will retire. There have been a lot of memories made through the years not only during the Sunday services they have played, but during church family events like weddings and funerals. The organ also has a long history with the church.
“The organ has been here since 1909. It was powered by water when it was first installed in the church. It is electric now. There are 800 pipes and at one time, all of the pipes played,” shared Balsiger.
The first song Balsiger ever played on the organ was “Ah! What Shall I, Poor Sinner, Do?” by Bach. Appropriately that will be the last song she plays as she closes out her time providing the organ music for First United Methodist Church of Guthrie.
“I can get lost playing the organ. That’s what I enjoy most. I also really enjoyed playing for weddings. They were fun.” said Balsiger.
“I feel pretty lucky that I’ve got to sit and play with my mom for 20 years,” said Cordis. “Thinking back on everything else, one of my favorite memories was playing with Kyle Dillingham, violinist. He played a violin piece that our choir was practicing. One of the past preachers also did a bible series on the Beatles so I got to play a lot of their songs as well. I say a little prayer every Sunday morning thanking God for the talents He has given me to play the piano for my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
First United Methodist Church of Guthrie will begin a praise band beginning July 1. Cordis and Balsiger will play this Sunday and next Sunday before they retire together.
“Linda and Cathie are such a blessing to this church. They bring just a delight of music in the family. The way they do and share music and play back and forth is just a great gift they have given,” expressed Alan Nagel, Reverend of First United Methodist Church of Guthrie.
First United Methodist Church of Guthrie is located at 224 E. Noble Ave. in Guthrie and can be reached at 405-282-4297. They can also be found online at guthriefirstumc.org.