Music Club Presents Charles Galetar

Written by Teresa Dennard.

in concert at Central Baptist Church

On Friday, April 26, 2013, the Carthage Music Club will host a benefit concert featuring Organist Charles Galetar. The event will be held at Central Baptist Church at 7:00 pm and will feature organ arrangements on well-known hymn tunes as well as Bach’s Now Thank We All Our God and his Toccata and Fugue in D-minor. Other composers represented will be Mendelssohn, Antonio Soler, George Thalben-Ball, Antony Baldwin, John Cook, Eugene Gigout, Dale Wood and Charles Galetar.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Galetar began playing the piano at age seven. Whatever musical talents he inherited were directly linked to his father who was brought to this country from Rumania at the age of one. He was a gifted trombonist, pianist, organist and violinist who truly loved fine music and encouraged Charles to have a love and reverence for music.  Because his mother liked to move a lot, Charles never had the same piano teacher for more than two years. “It was a choice that we moved,” said Galetar, “My mother would see a nicer house and we’d move to it. I grew up thinking that was normal.” When Charles’s dad sensed that he was getting tired of the piano, he recommended he learn to play the organ. They bought an instrument, but it wasn’t long before a bigger and better one was purchased. “My organ teachers were all very good, but here again, we were moving a lot. I started my first year of high school at Polly High in Riverside, California. I was there only a month when I transferred to a newer high school named Romano near Arlington, California. Then my dad got a call to return to Pennsylvania to take over the family business. Three schools in my first year of high school—I just went with the flow. It was a funny revelation, because when you’re a kid, you don’t question what your parents do.”

The return trip to Pennsylvania turned out to be a blessing for Galetar because he was able to study with David Uhlrich. “He wasn’t a really big name, but he was a very superb teacher. The first two months of studying with him I did technical studies and exercises and learned how to practice and be really accurate. He was a major change in direction in my playing because I pretty much knew I had talent, but I wasn’t working intelligently with it. It’s like somebody said to Vince Lombardi, ‘Practice makes perfect.’ And he said, ‘No, perfect practice makes perfect.’”

After high school, the family moved back to California and Galetar found himself draft eligible during the Vietnam era. He decided to enlist in the U.S. Army and, after basic training, was able to become a member of a military band. “Being in a band was certainly better than being in Vietnam. If you have to go, you go, but I don’t think I was really Ranger material!” His enlistment was cut short due to his father’s illness and subsequent death.

Over the years, Charles has had the privilege of serving as a church organist in many different denominations and performed many organ concerts as well. He studied organ with Dr. Ladd Thomas, Gerard Faber and Dr. Quentin Faulkner, professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He graduated from UN in 1989 with a degree in music education. “I never did teach school. My motive was to get a degree. I got really involved with composition and that spurred me on to realizing that I had a fair amount of creativity and I could write worthwhile stuff.” His professor, Robert Beadell, encouraged him to venture out into varied and less familiar areas of composition. This led to Galetar’s composition of Three 20th Century Art Songs for Bass Voice and Piano, resulting in his receiving the Ida M. Vreeland Award for creativity in music in 1988. In the same year Flammer Music published Galetar’s Contemporary Hymn Accompaniments for Organ. More recently, Paraclete Press published his choral setting of Humbly I Adore Thee, with text by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Charles and his wife, Judy, also a musician, moved to Carthage in July, 2006. At present, he is organist at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Kilgore, Texas where he enjoys playing their Skinner Organ, a 1960’s vintage organ designed by Roy Perry. At the Central Baptist concert, the organ program will feature and demonstrate a variety of dynamic levels, from very soft, to quite loud. The concert should have good audience appeal for those familiar with organ literature as well as those who will be attending their first organ concert. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

In Galetar’s words, “The one interesting thing about music is, you can’t be involved in it and keep all the problems of the world in your mind. In some way, it’s therapy. Playing the organ is like a painting…it’s the shades of color that makes it interesting. That’s how it is with music.”