Stucky started playing the organ in church 60 years ago – Harvey County Now
By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NORTH NEWTON—North Newton resident Donna Stucky considers the West Zion Mennonite Church in Moundridge Pipe Organ a kind of family musical instrument.
Stucky’s father was on the committee to get a new organ in this church, and it was installed in 1980, although his father died before that.
“Because of that connection there, it sounded like my family organ,” Stucky said of the Dobson Tracker Organ. “That’s not the case, obviously.”
The church honored Stucky in June to commemorate when she started playing for the church 60 years ago when she was 15. Now she is 75 years old. She hasn’t played consecutively for the church all these years, but she has played for at least the last 35-40 consecutive years and when she was younger.
Stucky, a retired public school music teacher, taught in the Peabody-Burns School District for more than 30 years, then taught as a substitute teacher for about two years after his retirement. His under-teaching included the towns of Newton and Moundridge.
“I’ve been a musician since I was 6 years old,” she said.
At this age, Stucky started begging his mom for a piano, so his mom started saving money on eggs and cream.
“Then she started looking,” Stucky said.
At the time, they lived south of Newton on a farm, and later the family moved to rural Galva. Moundridge is where the family went to church.
“She finally found a used piano at the Singer store [in Newton]”said Stucky, adding that someone had traded him.
Stucky took lessons from a Hesston woman, as did his mother, brother, and sister.
“She could play simple hymns by the time she’s done,” Stucky said of her mother.
Stucky continued to take piano lessons and by the age of 14 his mother was working at Crabb’s Town and Country. At Christmas, his mother bought an organ for Stucky.
“She had it delivered for Christmas – a little Spinet organ,” Stucky said.
Stucky practiced and played, then wanted to play for the church. The church moved to a new building in 1961, and they purchased a new organ.
“I started playing in the summer after I turned 15,” she said, adding that it was once a month in the summer.
Stucky’s time playing church was interrupted by her husband’s alternative service to the Menninger Foundation in Topeka.
She enjoys playing the pipe organ in church.
“The pure power of the instrument,” she said of what she loves. “It has so many colors and timbres. You can be very gentle, meditative or you can get goosebumps because it’s so majestic and so full.