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A rhythm for church: Polka worship at Our Redeemer's in Hancock (with video)

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Jerry Bireschbach and Joyce Maus play for the June 16 polka worship at Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church in Hancock. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 2

It may have been tough not to tap their toes.

Jerry Bierschbach and Joyce Maus brought their polka music to the Sunday worship service at Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church in Hancock June 16. This is the fourth time the church has had a polka worship service. Hymns and gospel songs are played and sung to the tune of a polka beat. It's a beat that is familiar at dances. Bierschbach plays the concertina and Maus plays the electric keyboard.

And the music almost had Connie Engler move from her pew. "I had a hard time standing still. I was almost up and dancing," Engler said. She hesitated to as the appropriateness of dance but then, "It's for the right purpose as long as it's praising God," Engler said of dancing in church. "I like anything to do with praising God."

Church goers may be familiar with praise music that inspires them to raise their hands in praise but polka music is a slightly different bent.

Attendees could be seen responding to the music by swaying and keeping time in the beat with their bulletins.

"It's definitely fun to look out and see the different responses," Maus said. "Mainly they are all smiling and happy."

"We had a great time in church," Mary Philiph said. Philiph is a relative of Engler. She came with more relatives, Cindy Thielke and Wynne Philiph.

"It was very uplifting," Thielke said "It's a great way to start a Sunday morning"

Playing for a worship service is spiritual, Maus said.

"It makes me feel good. I feel as if I've accomplished something," she said.

Butch Engler, Connie's husband, said he liked hearing some of his favorites. "'How Great Thou Art' and 'Amazing Grace' is another," he said.

The duo plays at several different worship services throughout the year.

"We've even done some funeral masses," Maus said.

A worship service, funeral mass or playing at a nursing home inspire the listeners and the players, Maus said.

"Music makes you happy. It fills the soul," Maus said.

For a video from the service click this link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jrU33ujiVEEuw09vyNnBjcnm86WjHaC3

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