“Music to Last a Lifetime,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 69
Music to Last a Lifetime
She began playing an old reed organ by ear before she could even properly reach the pedals. Now ninety years old, Lilas Swenson Clark never has quit reaching—not for the pedals, but to serve others through her gift of music.
Currently serving as ward organist for the Montpelier First Ward, Montpelier Idaho South Stake, Lilas started her seventy-eight years of musical service at the age of twelve when she was called to be the organist for the Primary and the ward’s religion class. At the age of thirteen, she was called as assistant organist and, three years later, as ward organist—the same calling she now has.
She has also shared her musical talent with the community, often accompanying the Montpelier High School chorus and orchestra as well as playing for an estimated fourteen thousand funerals since 1928.
Another item to add to her many accomplishments is a list of 479 students who learned to play the piano under Lilas’s watchful eye. In fact, at one time she was teaching 64 students per week.
After her marriage to Royal Clark in 1964, Sister Clark turned her service to missionary work, serving a full-time mission with her husband to the West Central States Mission.
“I’m not so busy now, but I still lead the singing at the Senior Citizens Center every week. I go to the nursing home every Thursday and play the piano for a half hour,” Lilas says.