Father Mark Miley and Lenwood Meaux.
Former choir members who attended Lenwood Meaux’s (seated) retirement party were John Landry, Mavis Faulk, Mary Primeaux, Mona Ontivetos, Geralyn Matthews, Whitney Primeaux, Father Mark Miley, Christine Trahan and Pat Vaughn. Not shown is Roxanne David and Mary Dronet.
After playing pipes for 55 years, Meaux hanging it up
KAPLAN — Not many of us can say we have had a job for 55 years, but one Kaplan man can.
Lenwood Meaux, 67, has been playing the organ at Holy Rosary Catholic Church for Masses, funerals weddings, or any other special occasions that take place in the church.
Meaux, a self-taught musician, began playing when he has been in 7th grade.
“When Monsignor Berbe’s sister, Miss Cecile, quit playing,” said Meaux, “I knocked on the rectory door and offered my services. Father Fernando Roy accepted and the rest is history.
“I didn’t even have to audition, because there was no one to audition against,” laughs Meaux.
After getting the job at the church, Meaux took a few piano lessions to learn more about his gift.
He played through high school, and when he went to college, he played in the chapels throughout the campus. Whether it was Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, he went where he was needed.
Even when Uncle Sam called his name, he never quit playing. He was sent to basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and then later in Germany, he never gave up playing the piano or organ in the chapels for all the servicemen.
Upon his return to his hometown, he immediately returned to playing full time at the church.
“No matter which priest we had at Holy Rosary,” he said, “they were all encouraging to the choir’s music.
When the 7th grader began playing those many years ago, all choir members participated in the mass from the choir loft which is located on the second floor in the rear of Holy Rosary.
According to Meaux, they remained there for many years. But when Father Dan Schexnayder became pastor, he wanted the choir to come downstairs and set up on the right side of the altar.
“That was the time when the priest wanted everyone to participate in the Mass,” said Lenwood. “His idea was that if people could see us, they would participate in the Mass.”
They stayed there till Father William Blanda became the new pastor. He wanted the choir back in the choir loft. And there they remain to this day.
“As much as music is my life,” said Meaux, “I began reading the signs that I needed to retire...the two most significant were my health and my age.”
Meaux said climbing up the stairs to the loft became a big problem, especially after he had heart surgery.
“But it was also a blessing in disguise. Climbing those stairs was the only exercise I would get,” laughs Lenwood.
Meaux said he has no regrets on his decision to retire.
“I’ve played many, many years, for different occasions. And it was very fulfilling in many ways. But, I did my share. It was time to give it up. I will definitely continue to attend Mass, but I will be part of the congregation, just not part of the choir.”