NEW ALBANY, Ind. - Dr. Donald Paul Hustad, 89, is perhaps one of the most preeminent experts on church music and worship alive today. He currently serves as the associate organist at Trinity United Methodist Church in New Albany, Ind. He plans to retire in June to move to the Chicago area to be near his family. He will be 90 on Oct. 2.

He has been organist at numerous churches in the United States, taught organ and most notably served as Crusade organist for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association from 1961 to 1966 working directly with George Beverly Shea, Cliff Barrows and Dr. Graham.

At a tribute to Hustad in Louisville this spring, he was called "the reigning 'Dean' of evangelical church music in the United States."

Trinity United Methodist Church at 2796 Charlestown Road in New Albany will be hosting a retirement celebration on Sunday, May 25. That Sunday will be Hustad's final Sunday to play for the New Albany congregation at the 9 a.m. worship service. That afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, the church will hold a celebratory event at which Hustad will play some of his favorite hymn arrangements. One of his daughters will join him and play the flute. A variety of recognitions will be presented on "Dr. Don's" life and service to the church, church music and worship.

Hustad holds degrees from John Fletcher College, Northwestern University, and has studied at Indiana University. He has certifications from the American Guild of Organists and the Royal College of Organists in London. He has taught at Olivet Nazarene University, Wheaton College, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

The American Choral Director's Association recognized Hustad this past March at which time selections from a Festschrift in his honor were read. To quote Dean Thomas Bolton at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville - "Hustad is a local treasure."

Information for this story was provided to Together by Brian Largent, chair of the staff-parish relations committee at Trinity UMC in New Albany.