A local native is returning to central Iowa to perform a concert on the harp at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ellsworth on Monday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m.
“I was born at the Story City hospital and was baptized and confirmed at Trinity and have been a Lutheran pastor for 37 years in Florida,” said Pastor Bill Reister. “My wife Susan and I have a music ministry called ‘Celestial Strings.’”
Pastor Reister plays the harp for social occasions throughout the Southeast, and together he and Susan present inspirational programs featuring the harp, piano and vocal music.
“We have done so at many churches in Florida as well as at Trinity and in Northwood and St. Ansgar where my other relatives live,” he said. “My parents were Carrol and Thora Reisetter. My uncle is Howard Reisetter from Story City.”
The Reisters play the classics, which they call “the music of our lives.”
“Featured in the cartoons of our youth, in movie soundtracks, in orchestra halls, in wedding venues and in church sanctuaries, the music of classical composers has been the accompaniment to our lives,” Reister said.
Both in the church and in our broader culture, classical composers continue to inspire people with their memorable melodies, he said. Listeners still call upon the classics at social occasions of every description.
“Even as society grows increasingly hostile to the church, the best of classical compositions bear witness to the enduring truths of the Christian Gospel,” Reister said. “Familiarity with the songs and the stories of the composers increases our appreciation for these timeless melodies and their lyrics.
“The classical music of Western culture still calls people back to the traditional beliefs and values of historic Christianity.”
Celestial Strings is a music ministry for the Reisters, who are affiliated with Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Florida.
Brought together by their love for church work and music, they were married in Miami in 1981. With more than 35 years in the pastoral and teaching professions of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, they have been involved in many aspects of music ministry and performance.
Susan is a church organist, pianist, choir director and bell choir director. Pastor Bill began playing the harp in 1993 and the instrument has since become his passion and an extension of his ministry as he plays at dozens of social events each year throughout the Southeast.
The Oct. 29 program will feature harp, piano, organ and vocal music. The public is invited to attend the concert.