Lutherans in Minnesota

Making beautiful music together

Gladys and LeRoy Motz share their love for music by playing accordion at senior centers and church events. Photo provided by Karen Carlson Wiblishauser

Gladys and LeRoy Motz of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, have been offering their time and talents to help others for the last five years through their volunteer accordion music ministry. The first Tuesday of every month, the Motzes bring their volumes of music books and Gladys’ accordion to Good Samaritan Society Care Center in Inver Grove Heights and Highland Chateau Health Care Center in St. Paul for a lively sing-a-long and dancing session. Gladys sings and plays her accordion while LeRoy sings, manages the music distribution, and coordinates the set-up and transporting of the music equipment. Their fans love and appreciate every magical moment of happy memories that Gladys and LeRoy inspire.

Active members of Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Eagan, Minnesota, Gladys and LeRoy provide their volunteer accordion music ministry to shut-ins in their church community. “LeRoy and Gladys have brought joy into the hearts of many people through their music ministry,” stated Pastor James Kroonblawd of Trinity Lone Oak. “When at someone’s home, they are known to have so much fun visiting and playing music they lose track of time. Gladys especially takes pleasure in taking requests for hymns that lift up the name of Jesus.

“With all the music books they carry, they are nearly always able to play everyone’s favorite.” Kroonblawd continued, “It’s getting a little more challenging for LeRoy and Gladys to carry all the musical equipment and music. These two are dedicated servants of Christ, constantly willing to visit someone who is feeling lonely, discouraged, or needing spiritual care. They keep doing it because they enjoy giving music and spreading the joy of the Gospel. Yet they often remark they receive so much more than what they give.”

The Motzes’ popularity often results in financial benefits for their congregation. Recently at a fundraiser for their church, their musical services were auctioned off to perform at a customer appreciation day for a business in Farmington. In addition, they made another monetary donation for a performance at the Rich Valley Golf Club in Rosemount.

Creating memories

Gladys and LeRoy each began playing the accordion at age 10. Meeting at their church’s Walther League as teenagers, they celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on June 8, 2011. They have four children and 12 grandchildren. Gladys and LeRoy have been members of Po.L.K. of A., a polka dancing organization, since l987.

The Motzes have danced at many ballrooms throughout the state, including the Medina Ballroom, the Park Ballroom, the Pla-Mor Ballroom, the Withrow Ballroom, and the Tropical Ballroom. They have also danced on the NWCT Polka Spotlight television show for five years. They attend a variety of dances and polka festivals in Minnesota and other states whenever their schedule allows.

Reflecting on their accordion music ministry, Gladys said, “We’re thankful every day that we have the ability to do it. We get more out of it than we give and we enjoy making others happy.” LeRoy added, “Reminiscing memories the music brings to others, watching them tap their feet to the music, and seeing the tears in their eyes is very rewarding.”

Gladys and LeRoy’s accordion music ministry truly reflects “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

Karen Carlson Wiblishauser is a doctor in clinical psychology and a freelance writer. She is also a BeFriender minister for Holy Nativity Lutheran Church in New Hope, Minnesota.

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