Trinity Church organist leaves the keys after 40 years

Trinity Church organist leaves the keys after 40 years
Martha Regelmann will retire from Trinity Episcopal Church this summer after 40 years. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Fisk)

A longstanding musical figure in the Trinity Episcopal Church of Roslyn will perform in her final concert this weekend before her retirement this summer.

Martha Regelmann, left, has served as Trinity Episcopal Church of Roslyn’s organist and choir director since 1977. (Photo courtesy of Trinity Episcopal Church of Roslyn)

Organist and choir director Martha Regelmann, who is retiring in June, started with the church on Northern Boulevard in 1977 and will direct “With a Voice of Singing” at 4 p.m. Sunday, a celebration of music in her honor.

“She’s somebody that has served for all her tremendous worth and energy, she is someone who has quietly and brilliantly served God and her craft of music, changing lives and shaping children across many decades,” Trinity Church Rector Margaret Clark said. “Those are stories that sometimes go unsung.”

Regelmann, who began piano lessons in seventh grade, was asked to play the organ at her Franklin Square church as a high school freshman.

“I got to tell the altos, including my mother, to stop talking,” Regelmann said. “How much fun is that when you’re 14?”

Martha Regelmann has also served as music teacher at Friends Academy for 26 years. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Fisk)

Regelmann, of Garden City, studied church music and organ at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and moved back to Long Island, working at Mineola First Presbyterian Church before moving to Trinity Church.

Regelmann also served as director of the Mineola Choral Society for about 25 years and will also be retiring from Friends Academy in Locust Valley at the end of the school year, where she has taught vocal music and music theory for 26 years as well as serving as musical director for a host of concerts, musicals and shows.

Regelmann said she discovered the Friends Academy position through choral member Sally Vuillet, who also served as the school’s assistant headmaster, and she created the middle school choral program to better prepare the students before the high school choral regimen.

Regelmann said a handful of preachers have come and gone during her 40 years at the organ, including the Rev. E. Nils Blatz, who she had met many times before joining Trinity Episcopal Church.

(Photo courtesy of Trinity Episcopal Church of Roslyn)

“When I was a little girl at the Episcopal camp in Wading River, he was on the work crew, and he would bring my cabin extra desserts, and we loved Nils,” Regelmann said. “Years later, he hired me, and he was a young priest starting here.”

Regelmann said her final concert on Sunday will be a fitting culmination of her time in the church, ranging from songs she’s been performing since she started with the church as well as a new contemporary piece the choir has never performed.

“We’re all going to miss her,” Michael Callahan, the church’s sexton, said. “It’s been a wonderful experience to have her all these years with us. She’s a great benefit to our worship every Sunday with the music and the way she selects the hymns and prepares the choir.”

Martha Regelmann, left, is moving to upstate New York after her retirement to be closer to her mother Lucille and her sister Patricia. (Photo courtesy of Trinity Episcopal Church of Roslyn)

After her retirements in June from the church and the school, Regelmann said she is moving to Ilion in upstate New York to be closer to her mother and sister.

Her official retirement celebration for the church is set for Trinity Sunday on June 10.

Of all her memories from her decades with the church, Regelmann said she will most miss the people and the concerts.

“The one concert that pops into my mind is when my parents sang with the Mineola Choral Society, and my husband at the time and my brother were also singing with the church,” Regelmann said. “We combined choral society people and church people, and we sang John Rutter’s ‘Requiem,’ which is a beautiful piece that mixes English and Latin. We did it here on a Sunday afternoon, and the sun was coming through these windows, and there was something about the whole feeling that was just magical.

“Every time I come in, I feel like everyone I’ve known who has been here — their spirit is swirling around the room.”

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