Trinity Lutheran houses a heavenly instrument

LYNNWOOD — On a recent Sunday evening, Robert Huw Morgan gave an organ recital at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood, playing the works of Bach.

Morgan, the university organist at Stanford University, was a visiting artist for Trinity Lutheran’s series of organ recitals, which the church puts on to showcase its hand-made instrument.

The church’s organ was built by Martin Pasi, an Austria-born instrument maker who now works in Roy, Wash.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful instrument,” Morgan said.

The day before the concert he put in a six-hour practice session, and even then, stayed on the bench for another two hours, just because the instrument was such a pleasure to play.

Norma Aamodt-Nelson, minister of music at Trinity Lutheran, also plays the organ during church services and recitals.

“There was a period of time when the organ was just heard in recital music,” and banned from church services, she said, even at a time when many of the greatest composers wrote primarily for liturgical purposes.

Bach, who was a devout Lutheran, was among those, and he composed many pieces with the intent of having those pieces performed in church services, she said.

While Bach’s perferred instrument was the organ, Morgan said that there’s very little primary source material to show which of his organ pieces were performed during his lifetime.

The Pasi is a mechanical, or “tracker organ,” which means the keys and pedals directly control the valves that let air into the pipes. Only the blower runs on electricity.

“It allows the organist to play with more sensitivity and more articulation,” Aamodt-Nelson said.

“It’s allowing music to sing and breathe, and that’s something Bach would have loved,” she said.

But in addition to using the Pasi organ for church services, Trinity Lutheran also lets its organ shine in public recitals.

“There are many beautiful organs by some of the finest builders in the world, and it’s one of the top, I think,” Aamodt-Nelson said.

Martin Pasi built the organ, his fourth at the time, in 1995 to replace the instrument the church lost when serial arsonist Paul Keller destroyed the church in late 1992.

Pasi has now built more than 20 organs, ranging from smaller single-keyboard instruments to the gigantic instrument, with four keyboards and 76 stops, at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston.

Trinity Lutheran’s instrument, with two keyboards and 29 stops, is still impressive, weighing eight tons.

“It speaks very well in the room, and it leads worship beautifully,” Aamodt-Nelson said, adding, “It’s one of the reasons I came to this church.”

Morgan agreed. “I can’t rave enough about it. It’s one of the best instruments I’ve ever played,” he said.

“It’s a honey, it really is,” he said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165 or

On Sunday, May 4, Trinity Lutheran Church will host its final organ recital of its “Artists at the Organ” series this spring. Mark Brombaugh, organist and choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Tacoma, will perform at 7 p.m. The church is located at 6215 196th St. SW in Lynnwood. A donation of $15 is suggested, while seniors and students can pay what they are able to. For more information, go to

More in Local News

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

Street-legal ATVs approved for some roads near Sultan

Supporters foresee tourism benefits. Opponents are concerned about injury and pollution risks.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Marilyn Carter (left) is president and Barbara Callaghan is vice president of the AOK Club at Washington Oakes Retirement Community in Everett. Carter personally funds much of the supplies for the club’s annual candy wreath fundraiser so that all sales proceeds can go to local charities. It’s just one of the club’s year-round activities to support local nonprofits. (Melissa Slager / The Daily Herald)
Circles of kindness

Residents of an Everett retirement community create candy wreaths as fundraisers.

County to contribute $1.6M to Everett’s low-barrier housing

The plan appears on track for the council to transfer the land ahead of next month’s groundbreaking.

Most Read