What’s Up South Texas!: Deacon shares unique musical talents with community

Before the pandemic, Fred Fey would visit nursing homes often to play a variety of music on his unique instruments

New Braunfels – A New Braunfels man is sharing his passion for music and ministry with his community through his collection of unique instruments.

Fred Fey, 78, is an ordained permanent deacon for Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

“I help with funerals, baptisms, weddings, and serving at the altar for mass,” Fey said. “It is just a great ministry of service.”

That is also the case when it comes down to his music.

“You receive so much good feelings from serving and seeing people and the smiles on their faces and singing along,” Fey said.

He has collected, rebuilt, and played different organs including the Caracal Organ, or band organ, which features many different instruments, and the Calliope organ, which is sitting on an old Model T car.

He started off driving the large instruments to nursing homes.

“Only people with walkers and wheelchairs could see and enjoy it, so we got a little hand-crank organ to put in the car and take into nursing homes when we got there,” Fey said. “We got to interact with the residents and they enjoy it. You can see it in their eyes.”

Fey said he and his brother began this journey of this unique way of sharing music.

“I would guess I have been doing this since before 1980,” Fey said. “I play all kinds of music. Christmas music, classical music, patriotic music, Rock and Roll. Whatever fits the occasion.”

He also shows off these instruments during city events, such as parades.

“I think certain of the instruments, it becomes sentimental because I know their possibilities,” Fey said. “I know what they can do. The labor that I put into them is special because I discover how they work.”

Like his strong faith, music has been a part of his family since the beginning.

He said at times he does feel discouraged but he is quickly reminded of the bigger picture.

“When I realize and see the emotions that flow from the people in nursing homes or people on the streets when I am in a parade, I get that strong feeling that I am connecting with them,” Fey said.

Fey said he hopes his passion for serving others in his own way inspires others to find their gifts and to share it with others as well.

“There are so many different ways that people can connect with others,” Fey said. “I think anybody with unique talents, if they are open to sharing them with people, I think that is a plus for the people you are serving and for yourself.”

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About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.