FUMC hosting organ concert
Covington native to perform Sunday
Bill Callaway, a Covington native, will perform at the final concert of the First United Methodist Church Organ Inaugural Concert Series at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Callaway’s performance will honor the memory of five people who had an influence over his musical career.
“When I first started planning this program,” Callaway said, “I didn’t intend for it to turn out this way, but it just sort of evolved.”
As a child, Callaway attended FUMC of Covington where, at the time, Josie Futrelle Goode served as the church’s organist.
“She was just a wonderful, sweet lady and just amazingly talented,” Callaway said. “I remember even as a little boy, being fascinated by the sounds of the organ.”
Callaway had taken some piano lessons before sitting down with Goode at the organ. He played his first concert at FUMC at the age of 13.
“That was my big debut — I still remember how excited I was,” Callaway said.
He said Goode remained supportive of his talent even while he attended Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and while earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia.
The first segment of Callaway’s performance dedicated to Goode, who was FUMC’s organist for nearly 40 years, will include classical pieces by Bach and Handel taught to him first by Goode.
The second part of his performance honors Dave Young, who was FUMC’s music director during the 1980s and 1990s.
“He did a magnificent job of starting the concert association,” Callaway said.
Young organized the Concert Association in Newton County almost 20 years ago.
Callaway said he is so appreciative of Young’s efforts allowing him to play with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Newton High School. He has since returned the favor by playing at the wedding of Young’s daughter.
He said Young’s tribute will include some of his favorite hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” as well as an accolade to his excellent tenor voice.
“I remember every Christmas he would sing a little spiritual called ‘Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” Callaway said.
Executive Director of the Arts Association of Newton County Buncie Lanners will sing the spiritual to Callaway’s accompaniment.
The third person honored in Callaway’s performance is Becky Hutchins who grew up with him and studied under Goode at the same time.
As freshmen in high school Hutchins and Callaway performed duets and as adults they hosted a Christmas party for 20 years where they would play holiday tunes together for their friends and families.
“It was almost like a Covington institution,” Callaway said. “It was always such a fun time.”
Callaway said he will play some of Hutchins’ favorite songs they used to play together such as a medley from Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” written by Julia Ward Howe.
The last portion of Callaway’s performance will honor his parents, the late Dr. Jordan Callaway and Caroline Callaway.
“They love music and they were instrumental when I was young in getting my lessons started, and they were always very loving and supportive,” Callaway said.
He said neither of his parents played an instrument but loved to listen to him play.
Callaway’s performance will feature the initial use of the new clock bell cymbelstern, a Glockenspiel hand-crafted in Germany, recently donated to the church by Florence Fowler Peacock in memory of Ben T. Banks Jr.
“The organ is just glorious now,” Callaway said. “When I first started, we just had a small two-manual organ that was built in the 1920s.”
Currently, Callaway is organist for First United Methodist Church in Chamblee. Since 1987 he has served as accompanist for the West Atlanta/Douglas Choral Society, makes regular concert appearances at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta and has performed at events such as Christmas at Callenwolde, the Decorator’s Show House and banquets at the Governor’s Mansion.
He also has given a solo organ recital at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and has played historic instruments while on European tours in England, Ireland, Wales and Germany.