A Festival of Hymns at Pease Auditorium

I love hymns and the pipe organ! Yesterday, my mom and and I enjoyed A Festival of Hymns at Pease Auditorium at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

A Festival of Hymns

The festival was the first event for the 2015-2016 season for the Ann Arbor chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The theme of the concert was “Singing the Psalms of the Life”. There was also a choir assembled from volunteer participants that rehearsed a couple of hours before the concert began. Michael Burkhardt was the organist.

This was the first time I was able to go to the Hymn Festival as in past years its conflicted with a vacation. Also, for the first time for my mom traveled to an organ presentation with. We had fun getting there as well. The drive took longer than expected as we were forced to take a scenic route around a parade. Thankfully, we left early and arrived in time to use the bathroom before taking our seats.

A Festival of Hymns at Pease Auditorium
A Festival of Hymns at Pease Auditorium

The program included hymns and a few readings. Each Hymn was a Psalm or based on Psalm. In total the program was about a hour. The organ sounded magnificent from the first note.

The combination of a well played organ with the choir gave me goosebumps several times during the performance. Mom and I were familiar with some of the hymns and we enjoyed those that were new to us. Mr. Burkhardt is an excellent organist. There was also a young man playing the trumpet for a few of the hymns and a young lady played the oboe with the organ for 1 hymn.


One of the hymns was “From All That Dwell Below the Skies” played to the tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN. I felt proud to be able to lean over and tell my mom that I could play this one! I have learned to play “All Creatures of Our God and King” which is played to the same tune (and in a difference key in my hymnal). Mr. Burkhardt played a more complicated version than what is in my hymnal, but I still felt accomplished knowing I had played this hymn successfully in the past.

Kilala came to the organ bench while I was attempting to play "All Creatures of Our God and King" to the tune of LASST UNS ERFREUEN
Kilala came to the organ bench while I was attempting to play “All Creatures of Our God and King” to the tune of LASST UNS ERFREUEN

I was inspired to practice because of the concert, knowing that some day I will be playing the organ and leading the signing of the choir and congregation. However, my run through of “All Creatures of Our God and King” at home last night did not go well. In the past I was able to play it from memory. Too much time has elapsed and my muscle memory forgotten. I struggled to play it through. I will spend some time remembering it and relearning as I love this tune!

A few weeks ago, Katherine Crosier featured me in her article about Adult Beginners. Read it here.

August 2015 Lesson - When it feels like you are never going to get it
October 2015 Lesson - Gaining Confidence
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Heidi Bender writes about her experiences of learning to play the organ. She started on the adventure in 2009.

She also writes on her website Tons of Thanks, which helps people write thank-you notes. Heidi is also a cat lady who writes at The Joy of Cats.

7 thoughts on “A Festival of Hymns at Pease Auditorium”

  1. Sounds like a wonderful event. I need to learn LASST UNS ERFREUEN as it’s one of my favorites and a good one to have in my repertoire. Not the easiest to be sure. I am playing it on piano for church next week, just never learned it on organ.

  2. This was a very impressive concert. I enjoyed every minute of it. Not only an organ concert but an excellent choir did some singing along with the organ music. Also the audience was invited to sing along on some of the hymns.
    Some concerts have no music I have ever heard of. Can tell I’m not a regular. This one actually had music I knew and had sung before. An hour well spent.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with the pipe organ – and those detours we sometimes have to take on our “road trips” and turn out to be scenic routes…can be some of the best drives ever!

    When my daughter was in college, we were fortunate to hear their pipe organ…it was amazing!

    Glad you and your mom were able to go to this amazing concert! We are haven an organ recital at our church on Sunday, but we don’t have a huge pipe organ like this one!!


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