August 19, 2013 • 09:21:27 a.m.

Palya benefit concert raises funds to repair church organ


Dean Palya (Photo provided)

Dean Palya and Friends

WHEN: 3 p.m. Aug. 18

WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 3717 W. Main St., McHenry

INFO: Musical benefit concert. Refreshments served. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit the church's organ repair fund. Information: 815-385-0931. For more on Palya go to

Working and studying as a producer and musician in Nashville, Tenn., Dean Palya hasn’t forgotten about the church that helped him get there. 

And he especially hasn’t forgotten about the church’s organ.

Palya, who’s written, recorded and produced several albums, honed his skills playing the organ for services at the First United Methodist Church in McHenry.

That organ, more than 100 years old,  is now in need of repairs.

To help raise money for it, Palya will join other members of the congregation for a musical benefit concert at 3 p.m. Aug. 18 at the church, 3717 W. Main St. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit the church’s organ repair fund.

“I really wanted to be able to give something back and have an event that everyone can enjoy, but at the same time benefits something the congregation needs,” said Palya, a 2011 graduate of Richmond-Burton High School.

The concert will feature a performance by Palya, who plans to play “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin.

“It’s a really great piece because it kind of takes the interesting style of jazz music and meshes it with the classical side of the instrument,” he said.

Palya is a junior in the honors program at Belmont University in Nashville, where he has created his own curriculum studying modern record producing. He has released seven albums and has written and produced music in numerous genres, including pop, hip-hop, country, contemporary Christian and alternative rock.

He began taking piano lessons at age 5 and quickly expanded into different instruments, often teaching himself. He also took violin and organ lessons along the way.

He said he loves all things music and hopes to continue as a producer. He also offers private music lessons.

He described his latest creations as “concept albums.”

“The main thing that I enjoy when listening to music is hearing ... a story,” he said.

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