Harmonizing Heritage: Traditional musicians capture festival’s spirit

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From chatting with friends, looking at craft booths, riding the carnival rides or chowing on another kebab, sometimes the pieces of the festival that make it the true Oktoberfest experience go unnoticed.

Take a few steps past the winding line of people waiting for Zion Lutheran Church’s apple dumplings; try not to be distracted by authentic sodas or twisting taffy, and just listen. Above the distant screams from the carnival rides and the chatter of camaraderie from the beer garden you’ll hear the sounds of Oktoberfest.

Those sounds are brought to your ear by dedicated musicians with authentic instruments, immersed in the German tones of Oktoberfest.

Lester Tracy of Seymour plays a portable organ at Second and Chestnut streets in downtown Seymour as people walk past. He played the instrument daily at the festival.

“It’s a good feeling, being in this kind of crowd,” Tracy said. “I like to watch people. You certainly see all kinds.”

Tracy’s organ was handmade in Germany in 1998 to be a replica of an antique organ. As he turns the crank, an expertly crafted paper turns, allowing air through the delicately placed holes that is sucked through tubes and out through pipes to create the chords that resonate throughout the corner.

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