Wetumpka organist plays one last time

County Road 12: Organ player retires

WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) -It’s safe to say Joe Allen Turner knows his way around the organ. He started playing at the age of 8, and has been playing ever since.

“I’m the organist at First Baptist Church (Wetumpka),” said Turner. “I’ve been here since 1956.”

He’s been playing for his church for the last 63 years.

"I began the first Sunday in October of 1956. When you think back it doesn’t seem like that long but when you start counting the numbers, I’ve been here longer than some of them have been in the world.” said Turner.

Turner was born in Wetumpka, graduated from the University of Alabama, was drafted into the army, and then came back home. He started playing at the age of 8, in the mid 1950′s a door opened up, that he would walk into for more than six decades.

“The lady who was playing the organ had married and moved to Tallassee. There was an opening and I just walked into it.”said Turner.

But after years of working his fingers and his feet, Turner says, it's just time to call it.

“When you start getting old things don’t work like they used to. I don’t see as well as I’d like to, and my knee joints creek.” said Turner.

On Sunday Sept. 29, he will hit these keys, one last time.

“I don’t know, I have some mixed feelings. I will have some sad feelings about it.” said Turner.

So, what’s next? Turner says he’ll probably get back into painting. And he will still attend First Baptist in Wetumpka. But he says instead of playing the organ he’ll sit in the back row and just watch and listen. As far advice for the next guy, or lady?

“Just enjoy it. Enjoy what you do.” Turner added.

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