Music director retires, music silenced

Posted Online: May 02, 2014, 5:10 am
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By Claudia Loucks,
GENESEO -- Sounds of music no longer will regularly echo in the halls of Holy Trinity Church or in surrounding streets.

Church music director Joe Glattly, 90, of Atkinson, has had to retire for health reasons, and no one in the church knows how to play the organ. The church doesn't have a piano, either, meaning there will be services without music.

"That makes me sad," he said.

Mr. Glattly has been the church's music director for at least 35 years, he said.

He said he may "be able to play at times," but he couldn't maintain his regular commitment because of his health.

Mr. Glattly's love for music began when he was in seventh grade and began playing saxophone in his school band in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Music also played an important part of family life. For example, his mother sang in the church choir.

After graduating from high school, Mr. Glattly spent time traveling with various bands across the U.S.

"Most of our bookings were for one night," he said. "One night in Norfolk, Neb., we played at the high school where Johnny Carson was a senior. I think that was about 1942."

Mr. Glattly later joined the U.S. Army and played saxophone with the Army band. One of his most special experiences was playing in a parade in Chicago, "and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was general at the time, was in that parade."

Mr. Glattly also played in a dance band when he was a student at the University of Iowa.

In addition to playing saxophone and organ, he's also an accomplished clarinet and piano player, and has written many pieces of music.

"I started writing music after college," he said. "Tunes just came into my head and I would go to the piano and develop them into a piece of music. That is fulfilling for me, and I still do that."

Most of his written music is for concert band, including an "Ivan D. Kennedy March," penned in the 1950s in honor of his Oskaloosa High School band director.

"I sent the piece to Mr. Kennedy, and it was played at a performance of the Oskaloosa Community Band that he directs," Mr. Glattly said.

He attributes much of his love for music to Mr. Kennedy, he said.

When Mr. Glattly and his wife, Sandra, were first married, he played with bands four nights per week and taught music during the day. He continued to play clarinet and saxophone with different bands after the couple moved to Atkinson in 1960.

He plans to continue to play clarinet and piano at home, he said.

Playing the organ at Holy Trinity brought much joy into Mr. Glattly's life, he said.

He played four hymns every Sunday, "but I am just not able to do that anymore."

Joe Glattly
Birth date: July 26, 1923.
Family: Wife, Sandra Glattly; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Jonna Glattly, Malibu, Calif.; four grandchildren and a great-grandson. Another son, Craig Glattly, died in 2006 from injuries incurred when struck by a car near his home in Lake Forest.
Hometown: Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Education: Oskaloosa High School; Bachelor of Science degree and master's degree in music from the University of Iowa.
Favorite Scripture: Psalms 23.
Favorite Biblical character I'd like to meet: "Joseph, because I think he was a good husband to Mary and a good father to Jesus."
Hobbies and activities: "I love to play and write music; and have been playing the clarinet with the Maple City Band, Geneseo, since 1961."
Peak experience: "When something I have written is played at a concert for people to enjoy."
Pit experience: "The death of our son."
One thing I feel strongly about: "Trying to live in peace and harmony with others just like harmony in a good piece of music."
I wish I knew how to: "Play a pipe organ with many keyboards and pipes."


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