For Tim Guenther ’73 music has been a lifelong passion, central to his education and ensuing career. He accompanied his first programs at Whitney Elementary School starting in third grade. While at SHS he played trumpet in the Whippet Marching Band and French horn in the Symphonic Band. He also sang and accompanied in the Concert Choir, Chamber Ensemble, and with the Esquires. He acted in several plays and served as student director for Whippet Theatre. In addition, he was a member of the Latin Club and the Quiz Bowl Team. Tim then earned a bachelor’s degree in organ performance, with distinction, from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York; a master’s in music from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and a doctorate from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. In 1987 he married Elizabeth (Betty) Tushingham. That year he was also rostered by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as an associate in ministry.
Tim returned to Ohio in 1989 to assume the full time position as director of music at First English Lutheran Church in Mansfield, a position he held for 21 years. Since 1996 he has taught at Ashland University as an adjunct instructor in applied organ and harpsichord, as well as courses in fundamentals of musicianship. He also serves as university organist and accompanist as needed for the University Choir and Chamber Singers. He performs as keyboardist for both the Ashland Symphony Orchestra and the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra. Since 2011 Tim has served as organist and director of music ministry at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Columbus, where he is also pianist for a twice-monthly Swahili language worshiping community – Ibada ya Kiswahili Columbus. He is principal organist for the Bach Cantata Vespers Series at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ashland. He holds membership in The American Guild of Organists, The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, The Reed Organ Society, The American Theatre Organ Society, The Organ Historical Society, and various other musical and professional organizations.
Tim performs regularly on the Mighty Wurlitzer theater organ at the Renaissance Theater in Mansfield and serves on the Renaissance Organ Committee. He regularly performs classical organ and harpsichord recitals both at Ashland University and Gethsemane Lutheran. Tim also served on several of the hymnody and music editorial teams that in 2006 produced the current hymnal for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Observes a fellow alum, “I’ve always admired the way Tim attacked his music career. I remember his playing Lady of Spain on the organ in the Junior High talent show. He always played with panache and passion.” Nominator: Tom Catherwood ’73.