Two organists in concert at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Friday

It’s not often that the grand Wicks organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria is played by more than one person at a time. On Friday, Oct. 18, however, Dr. Sherry Seckler, director of sacred music for the Diocese of Peoria, will share the bench with one of her former students, Jonathan Kroepel, to present a concert at 7:15 p.m.

They will play music from the Romantic era, including the Gustav Merkel Organ Sonata for four hands and four feet.

“Jon has wonderful technique and passion in his performances and he plays better than his teacher!” Seckler told The Catholic Post. “He also is a good improviser and was gifted in this ability from the first time I met him.”

Kroepel’s hometown is Hanna City and he started studying with Seckler when he was a teen. He went on to study with Dr. Dana Robinson at the University of Illinois, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degree in organ performance.

Currently he is director of music at First United Methodist Church in Florence, S.C. Kroepel also performs and was the featured artist at a concert sponsored by the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists at St. Mary’s Cathedral last year.

“We’re giving this concert because he called me and suggested we play together. He still calls and talks to me about music concerns and general stuff from time to time,” Seckler said. “I think he wanted to do the Merkel piece and thought it would be fun — as do I.”

There is also a plan for Seckler to travel to South Carolina and rededicate the organ, which is receiving significant improvements, at Kroepel’s church. They may do a joint recording on the instrument in the future.

There is no charge to attend the concert at St. Mary’s Cathedral, but a free-will offering will be accepted to cover costs.

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