John Obetz, Organist and Former Conservatory Faculty, Dies


The UMKC Conservatory is saddened to note that former faculty member and organist John Obetz has died. Dr. Obetz taught at the Conservatory 1970–2005 and was a renowned performer and teacher. The Kansas City Star notes, “Obetz’s The Auditorium Organ radio program, broadcast from the Community of Christ (previously RLDS) Auditorium, made him one of America’s best-known organists. He displayed his artistry in venues from Westminster Abbey in London to the Duomo in Florence to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.”

Conservatory Dean Peter Witte notes, “Professor Obetz was loved, as an artist, a mentor, and colleague. A nationally recognized organist, John made Kansas City a more musical and spiritual community. Especially when the Casavant organs in Independence and the Kauffman Center ring out, we hear his legacy.”

Former student and Conservatory alum Barry Wenger (DMA organ performance, 2003) will perform at Dr. Obetz’s service. Quoted in the Kansas City Star, Wenger said, “I asked him if he would like me to play Max Reger’s ‘Introduction and Passacaglia’ and he was delighted. We both have great memories of learning that masterwork together in preparation for one of my doctoral recitals at the Community of Christ Temple.”

Dale Morehouse, Conservatory Associate Professor of Voice said, “Two of Dr. Obetz’s copious gifts were his generosity and hospitality. He greeted all of us church musicians when we moved to town and immediately offered to help us find the right matches of congregations to serve. His instincts there were as accurate as his playing.”

Services for Dr. John Obetz are 3 p.m. March 12, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St., Kansas City.

Read full article in the Kansas City Star.



For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949