Jun 07, 2023 | John W. Coleman

Celebrating the Creator’s gift of music on Sunday, May 21, enabled Covenant UMC in Lancaster to also celebrate a much-beloved, retired musician who shared that gift with the church for 70 years, including 50 years as its organist.

Dolly Kepner, 92, retired last August and was honored in October when the church named her Organist Emeritus during a worship service that included some of her favorite music. Her blindness in one eye and limited vision in the other due to glaucoma forced her to retire after seven decades of playing organ and piano for the church and also directing its children’s choirs.

“If I could have kept my sight, I would probably do it forever,’’ she said, describing music as her life.

Kepner returned to play “How Great Thou Art” as the opening hymn during the congregation’s Music Appreciation service May 21.

She began learning piano from a teacher at the church at age 6. She was only the second lead organist to play Covenant’s Casavant pipe organ since it moved into its current building and installed the instrument in 1926. She succeeded her beloved mentor Mildred Wissler in that role in 1973.

Enjoy Dolly Kepner’s heart-touching life story in “A Musical Blessing from God,” penned by Barbara Hough Huesken, her former piano student and children’s choir member.

Thanks to Lois Neidermyer, Covenant UMC’s Lay Member to Annual Conference, for sharing this story with us.