Alvin Blount, the organist at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church, for years had considered recording some of the music he plays on Sundays.
"I had thought about recording a CD but I didn't have the nerve to do it," said Mr. Blount, who has played at St. Mary for 14 years. "I didn't want to just have something out there for the sake of selling something."
A visit to the St. Vincent de Paul Health Clinic changed his mind.
The clinic, next to the Salvation Army on Greene Street, provides services to the homeless and uninsured.
"I met all of these people who can't afford their medications," he said. "We are so fortunate, most of us, to be able to afford health care."
He held a benefit concert in May and has released the CD Spiritual Pipes , with proceeds benefiting the clinic's prescription-drug program.
"That clinic inspired me," he said. "It's doing some major service for the city of Augusta."
He dedicated the project to his late mother, Myrtle Terry Blount, organist at Thankful Baptist Church for 40 years, the church where Mr. Blount grew up.
"My mother was a big proponent of music," he said. "She was a major proponent of the church's work."
The recording features five spirituals arranged for the organ, including Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Soon I Will Be Done , Mr. Blount's favorite.
"The music, it's music that came out of the African-American struggle," he said. "It's got soul to it. It's got a unique American sound, because it originated right here on American soil."
Some of the songs have been used at St. Mary's services, five of which Mr. Blount plays at each week.
"I'm fortunate to do what I do, to be in the position I am, to be able to pay for my prescriptions," he said. "Doing this has fed my soul."
Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE RECORDING: Spiritual Pipes features 10 tracks, a combination of spirituals arranged for the organ and classical organ pieces that were recorded over a few days in the sanctuary of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church.
GET A COPY: Call the church to get a copy of Spiritual Pipes for $12; (706) 733-6627.
Hear a second song form the album (MP3 format)
"Swing Low" (MP3 format)