Taming the Monster at St. Mark’s for Fifty Years with Dr. Bill Wharton

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There are very few examples of a partnership that has lasted 50 years where one partner speaks of the other as a “monster.” But that’s what Dr. Bill Wharton says about the St. Mark’s United Methodist Church’s 1962 Tellers organ that he has worked to master since he arrived in Easton as the Church’s principal organist in 1967.

In Bill’s case, however, the use of the word monster is one of great affection and respect. In his interview with the Spy to celebrate his fifth decade not only playing the organ there but also a lifetime career in teaching music on the Mid-Shore, the Centerville native talks about harnessing the power that comes with this colossal instrument with its 2,437 wood and model pipes.

By his own admission, Bill does not put himself in the 1st tier of organists but is extremely grateful that he studied with some of them. The first being Clarence Waters, his college organ tutor and mentor at Trinity College. And it was through his relationship with Waters that he gained access to the famed Marcel Dupré in Paris, considered one of the finest organists of the 20th century.

Bill also talks about the exceptional spiritual connection that music provides a church and its congregation, as well as his personal experiences of sensing the divine when witnessing the masters perform in the World’s great cathedrals.

In celebration of Bill’s 50th anniversary, St. Mark’s has commissioned a unique composition that will be performed by Bill in late November one of a series of official acknowledgments by the Church of how valuable his service has been to the music on the Mid-Shore.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about St. Mark’s and its music programs please go here.

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Jim Chance says:

    Thank you for your recent article on Dr. Bill Wharton. Bill has shared his substantial musical talent with congregations and audiences of the Eastern Shore for 50 years. This remarkable man has shared his musical talent with friends and audiences for five decades! As a faculty member of Talbot County public schools and chair of the music department at Chesapeake College, he instilled in a generation of young people an enduring appreciation for music. I write as an Easton High School grad and former faculty colleague at Chesapeake College who has been inspired by his spirit, and I just wanted to join the chorus of voices singing the praises of this wonderfully talented man. Dr. Bill Wharton has contributed much to the cultural landscape of our community. What a gift! I have been privileged to call him a friend, and we have all been blessed to enjoy the spectacular musical talent he has shared with us since 1967. Thank you, “Dr. Bill!”
    Jim Chance

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