Niskayuna

No Mass, no problem: Organist improvises Easter celebration in Niskayuna

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church organist throws open the windows at her Niskayuna home and plays for all to hear
Susan Lohnas plays the organ on Cayuga Road in Niskayuna as husband Doug, foreground, and others sing along.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Susan Lohnas plays the organ on Cayuga Road in Niskayuna as husband Doug, foreground, and others sing along.

Categories: News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

NISKAYUNA — With the holiday fast-approaching, a group of local residents knew a traditional Easter Sunday Mass wasn’t going to happen. 

But a quick-thinking resident pitched an idea to her neighbor across Cayuga Road, a church organist:

How about cranking the speakers on her home organ and opening the windows so people could at least retain some semblance of tradition?

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So that’s what Susan Lohnas, who serves as the organist at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Schenectady, did.

A dozen-or-so people gathered in front of her home in the town’s Iroquois Hills neighborhood and sang as Lohnas performed three hymns, adding a spiritual flair to a sunny morning.

Lohnas’ husband, Doug, who serves as the church’s choir director, provided the sheet music.

Neighbors said the tight-knit community keep in contact through group texts and are always thinking of fun ways to keep spirits elevated during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“We try to help each other, lift our spirits and do fun activities when we can’t be together,” said Karyn Berry, who lives in the neighborhood, which also hosted a long-distance easter egg hunt on Sunday.

Lohnas said preparing for the event gave her something to look forward to during these unpredictable times. 

“This gave me new purpose this week to put this program together and work on it,” she said.

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