Who had twelve aquariums full of guppies? Who enjoyed fixing sewer problems when he was a kid? Who now has 18 tenants between all his rental properties? From being a dorky, only child to sharing God’s love through his service inside and outside of the church, this person has impacted lives in not only Seward, but the world. Well, obviously it’s Paul Soulek, but you may not call him that. Some of you know him as Mr. Soulek, others as Cantor, but overall he’s known as that crazy good organist who fills our church with wonderful music.
So, what makes Cantor Soulek tick? Well, out of common knowledge, he’s a big fan of bananas. I remember he used to label his bananas for each church service (he may or may not still do that). He also relies on coffee each day and wet morning kisses from his puppy, Silas (be warned, Silas is scheduled to get a haircut sometime soon, so he may not look like the same shaggy dog we all know him as).
Once again, the answer “there is no typical day” comes up in another interview. However, Paul spends his day working with people from a wide range of ages, and what he does with each group can vary drastically. He says that “every day is an opportunity to teach about Jesus.” From crazy object lessons at the CDC to playing the organ for a funeral, Paul gets to experience many different styles of work. Besides leading the whole congregation in music, Paul also leads various groups in choir and hand bells. He writes articles for every service in the bulletin inserts that are handed to everyone as they walk into church, and he composes music of his own. Paul said that he would like to write more music, however he does not always have enough time to do so. He’s a very busy man whose days are always filled.
Paul helps the community by leading the congregation in singing and encouraging them in worship to hear the good news of Jesus. He wants to be an example of how a single person can use their talents to show joyful love and service. You can never know where someone is in their faith, so he always takes the opportunity to talk about Jesus. Another not well known fact, but he tends to fluster Mormons with his loyal Lutheran beliefs and make them think deeply about what they believe. He always takes the chance to express his beliefs.
Now, some of you may wander about how Paul got so good at playing the organ. Well, he took classes in college and got a degree in it. He also says he just played it a lot and had lots of very good role models and people who supported him. However, sometimes an organist gets tired, but Paul doesn’t really take full days off. He usually just takes off short intervals of time when needed.
Paul says that in order to fit God into our schedules, we need to be able to say “no” to things and figure out our limits. We need to make time and stick to it – though he’s still growing in this area himself. He goes on to say we should give thanks for the present and not chase the future. “Give thanks for what God has done right now,” he boldly states. And he’s right. God has blessed us with so much right now, and we should praise him for it.
Q: What would have been your dream job if you hadn’t become a cantor?
A: A school bus driver, and am currently trying to get my bus license. (But I’m not planning to leave St. John anytime soon!)
Q: How is it easiest to reach you with any questions we may have?
A: Phone and texting
Q: What is favorite color?
A: Brick dust red from Seward Lumber’s paint department
Q: What is your full name?
A: Paul Michael Soulek (Jr. High was interesting because of my initials)
Q: What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
A: Joy to the world because it demonstrates a major descending scale “Do do do do,” Paul sang.
Q: What adjectives would you use to describe your own music?
A: Confident, energetic, and a little spastic.
Q: How many contacts do you have in your phone?
A: I have 53 A’s so you do the math.