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Longtime Calgary Flames organist Willy Joosen passes away

File: Calgary Flames organist, Willy Joosen. Courtesy: Calgary Flames

Beloved for the way he could easily come up with a riff when the whistle blew, the Calgary Flames’ longtime organist, Willy Joosen, passed away on Friday.

Joosen was the organization’s main man on the organ bench since 1988 when Irene Besse contacted him to take over the corner spot.

Calgary Flames organist, Willy Joosen on Feb. 9, 2022. Jessika Guse, Global News

In the biography on his personal website, Joosen said, “I focus more on the rhythm of things and catching things like going from slow to fast like Zorba, or call and response like Mexican Hat Dance…I was forbidden from playing the Chicken Dance for a while by my first boss, he just couldn’t stand the tune but then he left and I started playing it again.”

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The Flames took to social media, writing: “For 34 years, organist Willy Joosen brought so much joy and happiness to everyone who came to Flames’ games. He was an incredibly kind soul who uplifted everyone around him. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rest In Peace, Willy.”

Though Joosen loved the thrill of hockey, according to his website, he was known in the theatre world for creating original scores for local theatre companies along with a score for an Arete Mime Troupe production, launched in celebration of the ’88 Olympics.

Joosen had also spent time at the National Music Centre since its inception giving organ demonstrations on its famous Kimball organ.

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