Gerald Wheeler, Longtime Church Organist, Choir Director, Retires
The Weekly Packet|10/3/2019
From Saint Paul’s Cathedral to Blue Hill’s ‘Congo’
Anne Berleant

DEER ISLE—The nonagenarian with the twinkly eyes pressed the pipe organ pedals for the last time as First Congregational Church organist and choir director on Sunday, September 29.

“I’m 90, after all,” he said. “It’s time.” Wheeler’s retirement after 12 years at the “Congo” was celebrated during and after the service in Blue Hill, with local musical luminaries Paul Sullivan and Noel Stookey and former church choristers. It also marked the end of nearly six decades in the church music business.

“My father wanted me to be a bank clerk,” Wheeler said. “I said, 'No. I want to be an organist.'”

But that wasn’t always the case. A choir-boy at age 15, Wheeler’s church minister asked if Wheeler played the organ. “I said, ‘no.’ He said, ‘you do now.’”

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