Millersville Professor Robert Horton in organ  won first place at the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation in Kansas City, Missouri. He also serves as the organist and choir director at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, 31 S. Duke St.

From the Lancaster News Paper:

“It was a fun time,” he said.

First, he prepared a recording at Christ Church in Philadelphia, where Benjamin Franklin worshiped, thanks to Christ Church organist and conductor Parker Kitterman, who gave him access to the instrument.

“It’s one of the best,” Horton said.

Then Horton was invited to play at the semi-finals, where five organists were given sketches of five tunes.

“We had to fill in the blanks,” Horton said. “It’s as if you asked an architect to design a kitchen, and he has to fill in the details.

“You need a comprehensive background in harmony, and I’ve spent the past 25 years playing a lot of harmony.

“All the music I’ve played in the past 25 years I can borrow and weave it into something new. You have to work with the material they give you and come up with something that makes sense.”

The award includes $5,000 in cash, along with an opportunity to record a CD with the Pro Organo label at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, in 2023, and a performance at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in San Francisco in 2024.

Horton said he chose to record at St. George’s because they have a brand new organ that’s “probably the best in the area.”

You can hear Horton perform at Holy Trinity at 9:30 a.m. Sundays.

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