Organist devoted 44 years of Sundays to church
© Christopher Gooding
On any given Sunday for the last 44-years you would find Jackie Mahoney playing organ at the St. John the Baptist Parish church until now. Father Phil Thibodeau and the congregation celebrated Mahoney’s years of service on Sunday as she retires into a new life adventure.
SPRINGHILL – The last note from the organ in the St. John the Baptist Parish played just a little longer than normal on Sunday.
After 44 years, Jackie Mahoney is retiring as the church organist here.
“I have four children between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and want to be close to my family,” Mahoney said.
Mahoney’s training to play the organ began in high school after a number of years of studying music. Mastering the monolithic instrument equipped with two keyboards and a series of pedals to create three layers of accompaniment didn’t happen over night but it was comfortable, she said, leading to her role as the regular organist for the Catholic church.
“I had a talent and I used it,” she said.
Her love of sharing music didn’t end with the organ, however. In her 44-years of dedication, she also directed a successful hand-bell choir for many years, instructed and shared the love of music with her congregation and her community.
“I had a talent and I used it." Jackie Mahoney
Mahoney, who manages the child sponsorship program Chalice, which she was part of founding, will transition from working in the Springhill office to the HRM office, and just because she is retiring from being the church organist here, doesn’t mean she’s giving up the art. But she did have to choose a farewell to the familiar instrument that has trumpeted to the rafter songs both sacred and, sometimes, secular but with great meaning.
She chose her favourite composition by Johann Pachelbel, a piece originally intended for three violins and bass, but fits well with the organ and dynamic acoustics of the church during quiet reflection. “Canon in D. I played it before church started. There’s so much you can do with it.”