Today's church service was one of both joy and sadness. It was a beautiful, sunny June day, with the whole of the summer laying before us -- and it was Father's Day. Today, however, was also the day to say goodbye to our organist Dr. Roman Toi. As he celebrates his 95th birthday, Dr. Toi has decided to retire. Today was the last day we heard his majestic playing of the organ and saw his smiling face looking down at us from his customary spot atop the balcony.
Dr. Toi has been St. Peter's organist for well over 30 years. He hasn't missed a day while ill or during a snow storm. Members and guests of St. Peter's have all come to know the cheery man behind the music - the one who makes the organ come to life beneath his nimble fingers. If you have ever been to a service, wedding, baptism, concert or funeral at St. Peter's, you can be sure, it was Dr. Toi playing the accompaniment to the service.
Although we at St. Peter's English Sector know him as our organist, Dr. Toi has acquired a wealth of knowledge and respect in the music world. Born in Estonia, Dr. Toi has also lived and worked in Germany, Poland and in Montreal and Toronto in Canada. He began organizing song festivals as early as 1946 in Geislingen, Augsburg and Kempten (Germany). He acquired his Master's Degree in Switzerland and his Doctorate in music in the US.
All of Estonian society knows him as an excellent choir director, having directed just about every choir in our community. Third generations have excelled under his music tutelage. A lovely coincidence I came upon was in the making of this web page. When searching for music to add to the home page, I came across a young man named Attila Fias. I wrote to him asking permission to use his music. Our conversation led to me describing our church. "Oh, the Estonian one", replied Attila, "do you know a Dr. Toi? I took some music classes from him." What a small world!
Although he is well-known and respected across many continents as a choir director, music composer, teacher and mentor, to us, he was very special and "ours". We shall miss him dearly.
Norma Kaseloo, the English Sector's Chairwoman, presented Dr. Toi with a farewell gift. She explained that she would never again be able to llisten to organ music without thinking of him. She said that he would never be forgotten and wanted him to remember the English Sector group as well. His gift was a framed photo of the English Sector members with an inscription that read: "Dear Dr. Toi, We thank you for the music and the memories...your English Sector Friends."
It has been an honour for us to have had such a talented individual as the provider of our Sunday morning music.
Attending Dr. Toi's farewell was long-time English Sector member Arissa Arro. Arissa has been absent from our group for several months now, having chosen a different church to attend. Norma presented her with flowers and a memorial photograph. "Coffee time after church, just isn't the same without out," said Norma, giving Arissa a hug.
For you, dear readers, I wish a safe, healthy and enjoyable summer break. Our services begin again on September 11th with Sunday School registration and classes. New information concerning the events and services of the English Sector can be found at: www.stpeters-english.cwahi.net....
Tiiu Roiser Chorowiec
Dr. Roman Toi's Farewell - Retirement Service June 19th, 2011