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Irvington News

Irvington Organist and Choir Master Plays His Last Postlude

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May 28, 2023

It was the last time after 55 years that Donald Butt would end a Sunday service at Irvington’s Church of St. Barnabas by playing the postlude, and he wasn’t going to go quietly into retirement.

The piece he chose, the Carillon de Westminster by French composer Louis Verne, interweaves the four repetitive notes of the carillon chimes played from the clock tower above the British parliament. The piece runs for a full seven minutes, building to a climax designed to bring out the best in any organ.

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Following a tradition at St. Barnabas in which many parishioners remain in their pews until the last note of the postlude sounds, virtually the entire congregation stayed til the end when they burst into applause and in some cases shouted their approval as they might for a well-sung aria in a Puccini opera.

In appreciation of his more than five decades, Butt was presented with an engraved bowl, a photo of the Maestro at his bench, taken by parishioner and accomplished photojournalist Jose Lopez, a not insignificant cash purse collected from parishioners, and a cake decorated with edible organs pipes.

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