Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2009, 12:00 am

Celebrate pieces of Peace history

Comment on this story

By Claudia Loucks, cjloucks@qconline.com

Photo: Claudia Loucks / correspondent
Mary Kae Waytenick sits at the 82-year-old organ in the sanctuary at Church of Peace in Rock Island, where she serves as organist. Mrs. Waytenick will share the history of the organ as she plays special selections in conjunction with Christ the King on Sunday and St. Cecilia Day at 10:30 a.m. worship services on Nov. 22 in the church at 1142 12th St.
ROCK ISLAND -- Guardian angels and a musical saint has helped ''keep the peace'' at this RockIsland church.

The Church of Peace, 1142 12th St., will honor St. Cecilia, the patron saint of church music, and celebrate the history of its pipe organ during a 10:30 a.m. Christ the King worship service Sunday.

''Cecilia, from the second to third century, is one of the most venerated martyrs in the early Roman Church,'' organist Mary Kae Waytenick said. ''She was buried in a Roman catacomb. St. Cecilia is known as the patron saint of church music and often is pictured playing the organ."

Sunday's service will allow church members to learn more about the history of St. Cecilia, the Church of Peace and its pipe organ, punctuated by Mrs. Waytenick's performance of congregational favorites and new selections.

Her appreciation of music and the church's pipe organ may be unmatched.

Mrs. Waytenick began playing the piano when she was 5 years old. She has served as the church's organist for many years and has spent years researching the history of the church and its organ.

The church was established in 1895, followed two years later when church leaders bought property at 9th Street between 5th and 6th avenues. It got a used pipe organ from a Muscatine church in 1903.

A new church was built on the corner of 12th Avenue and 12th Street in 1912, she said.

''The old organ was moved into the new location and used until 1915," Mrs.Waytenick said. ''At that time, a new organ was purchased from the Hinners Pneumatic Organ Co. in Pekin. William Rolf, the pastor's brother, was employed by the Hinners Company. He supervised construction and played a dedication concert on April 30, 1919, at Church of Peace.''

Eight years later, the church doubled its size and needed a new, larger organ, again provided by Mr. Rolf, and Hinners provided the instrument.

The $10,000 organ and building addition was dedicated Feb. 27, 1927.

About half the costs came from Mrs. John Denkmann Hauberg, Mrs.Waytenick said.

''The Rock Island Argus newspaper stated that 'the big organ represents the latest in developments: electromagnetic action, oscillating tablets for stops, radiating pedalboard,''' Mrs.Waytenick said. ''At the three services, William Rolf played the organ and displayed the organ's 'beautiful tone and versatility.' The organ had 31 ranks and 1,215 pipes in four distinct divisions: great, swell, echo, and pedal."

Church members decided in 1997 to raise $60,000 for the Levsen Organ Co. from Buffalo, Iowa, to update part of the organ.

Another $34,000 in repairs was needed in 2008. ''A guardian angel'' donated the money that time.

Mrs. Waytenick is well acquainted with guardian angels. One helped her recover from a serious car accident when she was 19, and has helped her keep playing keyboards despite missing four fingers on her left hand.

Repairs to the organ certainly have been ''worthwhile,'' Mrs.Waytenick said. ''The organ was designed for this church, so, acoustically, it works very well with the barrel-vaulted ceiling in our sanctuary. It is now in good shape, and I believe we will have this beautiful instrument for a long time.''





Mary Kae Waytenick

Family: Husband, Paul Waytenick; daughter, Jessica Waytenick, at home; son, Aaron Waytenick, Rock Island.

Hometown: Milan.

Education: Rockridge High School; bachelor's degree, music education, Augustana College; master's degree, music with concentration in organ, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.

Favorite Scripture: Revelation 3:8, ''I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.''

Experience: Music teacher, Rockridge schools, for 27 years, retiring in 2005; Quad City Flutes Unlimited director; youth orchestras general manager for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, retiring in June.

Favorite Biblical character I'd like to meet: ''Moses, because I would like to better understand his leadership qualities.''

Peak experience: ''Becoming a mother.''

Pit experience: ''The death of my father.''

Hobbies and activities: ''Music, reading and gardening.''

One thing I feel strongly about: ''That everyone should have the opportunity to study music.''

I wish I knew how to: ''Enjoy exercising.''