I began serving as organist and bell choir director at Stone UMC in February of 1998. Prior to that, I served in the same capacities at Fifth Street Presbyterian Church in Conneaut Lake for over 20 years. In total, I have over 40 years of experience in the music ministries of the church. I have recently retired from my “day” job in the tool and die industry.
Early musical education began in elementary school with piano studies. These studies continued on and off until I began organ lessons in 1974. Organ studies were with local organist Rebecca Borthwick-Aiken. It was during that time I began my tenure at Fifth Street. I have always been inspired by the formidable talents of my mother, Nancy Helmreich. Nancy (mom) is a very accomplished organist and her abilities serve as a standard to which I always strive to achieve. While she never provided any formal instruction, she provided me with excellent examples of “how it should be done”. It should be noted that I have followed in my mother’s footsteps in both churches I have served. Nancy was also organist at Fifth Street Presbyterian and then Stone UMC.
Now retired from tool and die, I am looking forward to spending time on the golf course, long walks with my wife Darlene, doing home improvement projects and, of course, practicing organ as much as I can. I recently purchased a three manual practice instrument for my home. No excuses not to practice!
God Bless, Jim
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