Church organist plays for 60 Years and is still going strong

Church organist plays for 60 Years and is still going strong

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For the past 60 years, the Sunday morning soundtrack at Pinewood Baptist Church has included the organ music of Dot Elliott.

60 years of faithful service at the church have earned her the Order of the Silver Crescent, the state's highest award for significant contributions, leadership, volunteerism, and lifelong influence within a region or community. She received the award at a special service at Pinewood Baptist last month.

Dot took over the organ duties at the church when the previous organist passed away during Vacation Bible School in 1959. Dot has played faithfully ever since.

When asked if it feels like she's been playing for 60 years, Dot said, "Not at all. You know the saying- when you're having fun, time passes quickly."

Elliott says Pinewood Baptist Church has only had 2 organists in its 110 years of existence.

Dot and her husband of 57 years, Dargan raised their family in this church.

While he passed away in 2014, her 3 grown children still attend the church.

Well-worn sheet music, on her music stand bear witness to Dot's expertise.

Her handwriting appears all over the margins of some of the most classic hymns of the Christian faith.

Among some of Dot's favorites: "There's Power in the Blood," "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Victory in Jesus."

Church officials say Dot has logged close to 10,000 hours at the organ, playing everything from weddings to funerals, choir practices, Christmas concerts, and revivals. She is as much of a fixture at Pinewood Baptist, as the exquisite stained glass in the sanctuary.

But she still keeps up with the times. A lot has changed in worship music since the late 50s.

Travis McIntosh, the Music Director at Pinewood Baptist says she does not shy away from trying new things. "She's willing to play pretty much anything I pick out to put in front of her."

The congregation loves their organist, and many stop by the organ after church to say hello.

Dot says she has no plans to quit playing anytime soon. "The Lord's blessed me with good health and as long as I am able, I hope I can be here on this organ bench, " Dot chuckled.

In changing times, it’s comforting to know some things are timeless: Cherished hymns that touch the heart, played by faithful hands like Dot’s.

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