When Barbara Smith was asked to fill as organist for the Stillwater Federated Church for “a few weeks” in 1970, she never dreamed that she’d still be playing for them 45 years later. In June, though, Barbara announced that she would be retiring from her work at the church on Bennoch Road in Stillwater, bringing tears to the eyes of many church members who had grown up with her music.

On Sunday, July 12, a celebration was held at the church to honor Barbara’s many years of service, share stories, and sing songs, including two which choir members had written especially for her.

In the four decades that Barbara played for Stillwater Federated Church, she worked with six regular pastors, directed both youth andsenior choirs, coordinated joint musical productions with the Old Town Methodist Church choir, and brought the choirs to numerous regional choir festivals. She is also well loved for her piano compositions, which have been released on several CDs such as “A Sense of Acadia” and “A Sense of Roots.”

Barbara, who also taught piano lessons in her home for many years, was well known for encouraging young musicians to perform in church, whether it was herm own piano pupils playing piano-organ duets with her, or local beginning instrumentalists playing the trumpet or flute for Christmas Eve services.

Barbara, 80, has not retired completely – she will continue as the organist and choir director for the Orono Methodist Church where her son, Steve Smith (also known as TV meteorologist Steve McKay), is the pastor.

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