Mary Huhn, of Sweden, is the new organist and pianist for the Waterford Congregational Church. (Submitted image)

WATERFORD — Mary Huhn’s life has thrived on music. She says it is central to just about every memory of her childhood. And it defines much of her life to this day. Next week she begins a new chapter in her life of music, as organist and pianist for the Waterford Congregational Church.

The church has been without an organist since its long-time matriarch, Joan Fillebrown, stepped down in December due to ill health. Fillebrown passed away in early March after 25 years as organist. In the interim, Kay Leslie, an accomplished, trained professional pianist and member of the congregation, has stepped in to accompany the choir and the hymns.

Huhn, who is 78, won’t have a long commute to her new gig. She lives just down the road from Waterford, in Sweden. She began piano lessons in the second grade, but admits she is largely self-taught. As a child, she must have been something of a prodigy – pulled from Sunday School to play the piano for the nursery school classes, and then enlisted to play for church and Vacation Bible School.

“My whole family also sang when I was growing up,” she remembers. And most of them are still at it. She and her son, Lloyd (who is blessed with both a big voice and a range to match), both sing in the highly-respected Maine Music Society Chorus of Lewiston, and the Lake Region Community Chorus in Bridgton.

Raised a Baptist, Huhn married a Lutheran and became the organist for the Lutheran Church in North Conway after the family moved to Sweden more than 30 years ago. She played there for 17 years, until 2006, when the winter driving got to her. Since then she has done some substituting, weddings, and funerals.

The prospect of playing for the Waterford services delighted her, she says, because they are close, and she knows a number of Waterford choir members from singing in other groups. Jane Morse, the WCC music director, fielded the call from Mary after the ad ran in the Bridgton News. It took them a couple of minutes to discover they knew each other from the Maine Music Society, and after that it was smooth sailing.

Morse says, “She has great timing, rhythm, and touch on the piano. The congregation is looking forward to additional music on Sunday mornings.”

Huhn brought her son and daughter-in-law to church several Sundays later and was impressed with how friendly and welcoming the congregation was. She also was attracted by the quality of the music program, which is a top priority of the little church.

It’s a good fit, Huhn says, “and music is how I worship.”