Organist Robert Myers delights Music at the Market fans
by Colin Murnan
(Plain Press, August 2019)The Beckerath Organ in Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at W. 30thand Lorain Avenue, is a monolith of an instrument, containing 3,476 pipes arrayed in sixty-five ranks. These ranks are split into five different divisions, each division controlled by a separate keyboard according to the website: clevelandbeckerath.org.
Playing an instrument like the organ requires a certain confidence as well as talent, and longtime church member Robert J. Myers has both.
A lifetime member of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Myers said, “I was baptized here in 1949.” From a very young age Myers was interested in music, and he took to the piano first at age four. “I learned to play on my sister’s lap.”
When Myers was eight years old in 1957, the great Beckerath organ, built in 1956, was moved from Germany into the Trinity church. The instrument is named after its creator, master organ builder Rudolph von Beckerath. It was so large that during its construction the organ had to be laid out in the Hamburg Observatory in order to be assembled.
“The first time the organ went up was in this church,” Myers said. It was the first of its kind in the United States, he noted.
Being a pianist already, the foundation was set for Myers playing the Beckerath organ at free Wednesday Music Near the Market concerts for the past 25 years. The two instruments are similar in that they both have a keyboard, but vast differences remain. Unlike a piano, the organ is a wind instrument, and creates noise by pressurized air running through various pipes. The organ also has large foot pedals that need constant attention as well as various knobs on each side called “stops.”
In 2011, an anonymous donor contributed $100,000 to the restoration of the Beckerath organ, nearly doubling their total sum in donations and allowing the huge instrument to be updated and renewed.
The organ is a unique and complicated instrument, demanding only attentive and worthy musicians to its seat. Robert Myers shows with his passion and knowledge of the craft that he is indeed worthy of the Beckerath.
Myers plays as part of Trinity’s Music Near the Market Series, put on Wednesday afternoons from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. for free at 2031 West 30th Street in Cleveland. The free concerts started in 1994 and have been held continuously each Wednesday for 25 years except for a brief period when the organ keyboard was being replaced. Myers rotates with other organ soloists throughout the month. Myers plays on the 3rdand 4thWednesday of each month, Florence Mustric plays on the first and second Wednesday of the month. Myers says if there is a fifth Wednesday, they recruit another organist to play that concert.