The Friends of Music Concert Series, an outreach program of the First Congregational Church, will welcome organist Tom Mueller back to the church sanctuary Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m.

Mueller, who served as Director of Music at the church October 2009 through August 2011, will premiere a new work for organ, “Keys of Love,” composed by his mentor and former teacher, Appleton-based composer Alan Wingard. The piece is dedicated to Mueller, and this concert will be its first public performance.  Additional works by Bach, Franck, Conte, Wingard and Mendelssohn will round out Mueller’s program.

Wingard said the inspiration to write “Keys of Love” came to him during Holy Week 2011; when he completed the piece about eight months later, he dedicated it to Mueller. Created as a theme with four variants, “Keys of Love” represents several facets of Wingard’s musical, literary and spiritual interests. In essence, the piece is a series of musical reflections on the Reformation-era Lutheran chorale melody “Christ ist erstanden” (Christ is Risen).”

Mueller said he finds hints of Wingard’s love of Iberian music, film and Broadway music and, of course, the English cathedral organ tradition. Mutual admiration and respect for each other’s talents has only grown stronger with time, and Mueller is very pleased to be returning for what promises to be a very special evening of music for all.

Wingard holds a BFA in Organ Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in music history and composition from the University of Connecticut. He served as organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Waterville from 1996 through 2010, during which time he first met Mueller (then age 14) and became his organ teacher. Wingard has lived in Appleton for the past 27 years and currently serves as organist at the Second Congregational Church of Warren. He has composed six pieces for organ.

Mueller is currently working on his doctoral degree in organ performance at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. He also serves as assistant organist at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester. Mueller is completing a choral piece that was commissioned by the University of Notre Dame, his Master of Sacred Music degree alma mater, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the completion of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Later this month, he will serve on the faculty of a Pipe Organ Encounter hosted by the Portland chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

A reception will follow the concert in the church’s Pilgrim Room with light refreshments and an opportunity to meet and discuss the music with Mueller and Wingard. As always, the concert is free and open to the public, although donations to sustain the program are cheerfully accepted at the door. For more information, call 236-4821.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.