Douglas L. Rafter A.A.G.O.

Douglas L. Rafter, A.A.G.O., 97
PORTLAND -- Douglas L. Rafter, Portland's longest-lived Municipal Organist, died on Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at the Portland Center for Assisted Living. He was 97.
A native of Wilmington, Vt., Rafter moved to Portland in 1971. He was a concert organist, and had a repertoire of about 275 pieces of organ music memorized. He also taught music privately, and at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H., and the University of Southern Maine. He was organist and choir director at Immanuel Baptist Church for 13 years, and then worked at other churches in the Portland area until his retirement in 2005.
Over the years, he gave 1700 organ concerts throughout the United States. He played his first organ concert in Portland in 1936, right after earning his Associate's degree from the American Guild of Organists. In March 2010 he was honored by the AGO for 75 years of consecutive membership, all but the last five of which had been in uninterrupted service as a church organist and concert performer.
Douglas Rafter was Portland's Municipal Organist from 1976 until 1981, and during those years he entertained thousands of listeners with his interpretations of musical masterpieces, classical and popular alike. He had an enviable record, playing summer series concerts for 68 years. Thousands more will remember his Christmas preludes before the annual Magic of Christmas concert.
Rafter was most proud of the fact that after his first concert on the famous Kotzschmar Memorial Organ in August of 1936, he met Mrs. MaryAnn Kotzschmar. She was the widow of Hermann Kotzschmar, the famous musician to whom the instrument was dedicated in 1912. After the program she went on stage to compliment his playing and his technique. He was just 20 and she was 82. She died shortly thereafter.
Douglas Rafter was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy; his son John and bother Wesley. He is survived by his daughter- in-law, Martha Rafter of Portland; and two nephews, The Rev. John Wesley Rafter of Camden, and John Martin Rafter of San Francisco, Calif.
A memorial service will be held at Woodford's Congregational Church, 202 Woodford St., Portland, on Wednesday, July 17, at 10 a.m. For further information contact: Peter S. Plumb, 207-773-5651, or 207-756-4139. Online condolences may be expressed at
Memorial contributions in Doug Rafter's name may be made to:
The Friends of the
Kotzschmar Organ
50 Monument Square, 2nd Floor
Portland, Maine 04101
Douglas L. Rafter

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on July 11, 2013