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95-year-old woman continues to play music on a new church organ

Despite a lack for professional training, Evelyn Rudenick plays the organ in her own way.
KEYC News Now at 10 Recording
Published: Jun. 12, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - 95-year-old Evelyn Rudenick has a soul that guides her through melodies and a power to play music as if it were a universal language, which is why she continues to play for her church at her age.

“I’m getting too old to play now, but I would fill-in if I have to. God has given me this talent to develop- it wasn’t my doing, it was His doing. But I have enjoyed doing it,” organ play Evelyn Rudenick said.

Rudenick fills-in as an organ player for the Good Shepard Lutheran Church. Recently, the church received a new organ from Sioux City, Iowa- replacing their electric organ for an actual pipe organ. Rudenick was more than happy to play the new organ for her church on June 5.

When Rudenick was only seven years old, her mother showed her how to play notes and read music, with only one hymn book and a burned piano from a neighbor. Despite a lack for professional training, Rudenick plays in her own way.

“At that time, we couldn’t afford any piano lessons or anything. So, my fingering is my fingering, not like a professional teacher,” Rudenick said.

Rudenick touched an organ for the first time when she was 13 years old, on her confirmation day, because her church was in need of an organ player.

“When I had a chance to play on my confirmation day, it was quite a surprise- but from then on, it was wonderful to hear the congregation singing. And I just went on then,” Rudenick said.

Throughout her life, Rudenick taught Sunday school, child’s choir, and senior choir, played the piano and organ, and worked other day-jobs- but she always made music a priority in her life.

“Music should be important to everybody’s life. Because it just makes you think about things differently,” Rudenick said.

Music brings Rudenick joy, and she shares that energy to everyone- no matter the occasion. Even when she plays at funerals, Rudenick encourages others to celebrate life through music.

“When they have lost a loved one, they would come to me and say, ‘we don’t know what to sing- what people should sing.’ I said, ‘sing Easter hymns- something uplifting, not some sad.’ I mean, it’s sad enough the way it is. It’s a celebration of life, and death, and you’re in heaven,” Rudenick said.

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