Tandy Reussner grew up in a musical household and when she started playing the piano at age 5, she fell in love with it. She would later go on to master the organ and become an accomplished and award-winning musician. Today, she is the head organist/choral accompanist at First United Methodist Church in Lawrence, which is home to the largest pipe organ in the state.
Even with all these accomplishments, nearest and dearest to her heart is her ability to use her musical talent to help others in her Lawrence community. In 1996, Tandy began offering holiday concerts with the goal of raising money for charitable organizations. “These Christmas concerts have always been free to the community, but with everyone’s generosity, we've raised over tens of thousands of dollars over the last 25 years.” She also enjoys highlighting the versatility of the pipe organ.
She is now expanding and doing a “Pull Out All the Stops” four-concert series. Pulling out all the stops in music refers to opening up all of the pipes of an organ and letting all the different sounds flow together loudly.
Tandy’s concerts have always had a theme, and she chooses a beneficiary that goes along with that theme. The first one in this series, Organ by Candlelight, was held on October 30th , and featured many classical masters such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, but with a unique twist. An electric guitarist played alongside her. The recipient was Just Food, a food pantry in
Lawrence. The 26th Annual Organ Vespers and Caroling Concert will be held on December18th and feature the Lawrence Children’s Choir, which will also be the recipient of any funds raised.
On March 5th , she is doing a Kansas Classics Pep Rally concert. “The theme will be University of Kansas [KU] fight songs and others that go with KU. We have the Lawrence Bar Band, and we’re going to have the Medical Men's Choir sing some of the old ballads of KU, which will be fun. The beneficiary will be the new treatment recovery center in Lawrence.”
Her husband, Dr. Lee Reussner, a doctor in Lawrence, with whom she has two grown children, Liesel and Hannah, put this Medical Men's Choir together many years ago. Later on, he and Tandy also started a Medical Women’s Choir.
The Land of the Free concert, on July 2nd, is going with a patriotic theme. The beneficiary will be Family Promise, which focuses on helping homeless families. The first concert took place at the First United Methodist Church, as will the following two. The one on July 2nd will be at the Lied Center at KU.
In addition to raising funds for charities, she also wants to bring people back together after the isolation and sadness of Covid. “The reason I’m doing this is to build community by providing beautiful and fun music and by offering opportunities for folks to give to those in need,” says Tandy.
“In some respects, I consider my concerts to be like a Thanksgiving table. Everybody is welcome and the main course is the music and the sides are going to be all different. Each person has their favorites and maybe there's something they haven't tried before. Regardless, there's something for everybody!"
Tickets for these concerts can be purchased at TandyReussner.com.