LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Bill Lincoln started working at St. Boniface as an organist when he was just a teenager.
In the fifty years that followed, he got a lot of practice crafting the sounds of the Catholic church on E. Liberty Street.
“Stop,” Lincoln said, directing the choir during a practice preceding a Sunday mass. “Sopranos, watch your pitch on this. Let’s take the very last line.”
That’s a command he’s given once or twice before in his role over the last half century.
“Do the last line again, please,” Lincoln said.
Repetition is part of what has built his reputation.
“I’ve read in our history book about all the old pastors and one of the organists that was here for 46 years,” Lincoln said. “I think, gosh Bill, you’re part of the history book, too. But it feels good.”
A good feeling after a tough yearlong decision.
“One of the choir members finally said, for the love of God Bill, would you either stay or quit,” Lincoln joked. “Do one or the other.”
He’s picked up many duties over the year- developing and leading the choir, guiding tours and taking care of a church that was built at the turn of the twentieth century, but, now, Lincoln has decided to retire.
“Of course, the choir, the organ and the music is just something I’m really going to miss,” Lincoln said.
Many others said they are going to miss him too.
“There’s many things in the church that I pretend to understand, how to play the organ is not one of those,” Father Adam Carrico said.”I often joke that Bill wont allow me within five feet of that organ.”
But his reputation of repetition extends beyond the song book.
Repeatedly, the stories are told by those close to him describing him as a passionate man, who time after time used his skill to serve his church when circumstance demanded it.
“I think for a lot of people here at St. Boniface, including myself, there is some great difficulty imaging what St. Boniface will be without Bill,” Carrico said.
But as the clock ticks on, Lincoln said the choir isn’t singing a requiem as his final day leading it approaches in the coming weeks.
“I had a wonderful life,” Lincoln said. “It’s been a wonderful life.”
Lincoln said he’s ready for the transition, but he knows its going to be a difficult one.