Friedemann Stihler

Friedemann Stihler

German organist Friedemann Stihler performed at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Guntersville on Thursday, June 16.

He played his concert “Rockin’ Organ” for guests, playing entertaining mashups of familiar rock tunes that he titles with names such as “Smoke on Mr. Bach,” “Nutcracker meets Santana” and “Thank You Stevie.”

Stihler spoke a little about his time in America, saying “I really enjoy living here!” He wants to play in every state and has 27 down so far. He hopes to be complete by next year. However, his love for music started across the ocean in Germany at a young age.

“When I was 10, I played the organ in church services, but no one would actually listen to me. I practiced pieces all week, difficult arrangements, and there was nothing. So I played a more recognizable tune from the cinemas the next week.”

He said he saw the audience, who were all below him on the first floor of the cathedral, burst out into a big applause, and they listened until he finished. “That was the moment I found out I enjoyed playing music.”

Stihler started to become well-known as an organ player during COVID lockdown where he played the organ in empty churches on Facebook Live. Now, he’s grateful to be playing two years later to a church that is not empty. “It’s great to be back playing with an audience,” he said.

He continues to play more tunes that his audience knows and loves because he likes to see people visually recognize the song as he plays. However, he continues the career because of his joy in gathering people with his music. “I do this to bring people back to church and have them leave church with a smile,” Stihler said. “I love what I do.”

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