Daniel Roth Concert – Ypsilanti, MI March 2014

Last Sunday afternoon I attended another organ concert presented by the Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival.

Maritn Ott Opus 100, Jardine & Sons 1899 Pipe Organ Console
Martin Ott Opus 100, Jardine & Sons 1899 Pipe Organ Console

The concert was at theĀ First Presbyterian Church and featured French organist Daniel Roth. He is the titular (head) organist at St. Sulpice in Paris, France. The concert was free and the church was full!

I have watched many Daniel Roth videos on YouTube. Hearing him play live was awesome. He is an exceptional organist. The program contained music of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor, Durufle, and ended with a piece composed by Daniel Roth. Daniel addressed the audience in between pieces.

During intermission I met Ann who was seated next to me. She is also an organist and she gave me encouragement to keep practicing after hearing my background!

Improvisation on a submitted theme

The concert ended with an improvisation. Upon arrival, along with the program each person was given a slip of paper where they could write in a hymn to be used for the improvisations or write in their own tune (there were many organists in the audience). If submitting a hymn it needed to be from the hymnal in the pew.

This was my favorite part of the concert. Daniel used the tune from 2 hymns in the improvisation. This is the first time I have seen 2 themes used. My expectations were high as Daniel won a competition for improvisation in 1971. I didn’t catch the name of the hymn tunes that were used but I have heard them before. The improvisation was absolutely amazing. The hymn tunes could be heard in many variations. There is a technique to improvisation. I do not know what it is to be able to explain.

The video play is of Daniel playing the Allegro movement of Widor’s sixth symphony. (I was not able to find a video of any of him playing any pieces from the concert).


What is a cabinet pipe organ?
April 2014 Organ Lesson and my first YouTube video
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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.

6 thoughts on “Daniel Roth Concert – Ypsilanti, MI March 2014”

  1. Hi Heidi,
    I agree with Mary Jane’s comments. I can’t even imagine being so talented.
    It was fascinating to watch him as well as listen to him. I wish I would have went to the concert
    with you. Keep up your good work.

  2. Now I know why I didn’t learn how to play the organ!! This was totally mesmerizing and it was nice to actually see a video of an organist, but oh, this has to take YEARS of dedicated practice. Also, first four keyboard organ I’ve ever seen and they all play automatically while he plays the bottom one!? I also noted he wasn’t wearing “pedal slippers” either!!! But, his feet seemed to move more than his hands did and a person sure has to be coordinated to play this awesome instrument…and not just coordinated but dedicated and smart too. I am sitting here in awe after watching the video…how a person can do so many things at one time totally amazes me. You have certainly taken on the greatest challenge of your life, Heidi, and I admire you for forging on with your dream!!! Maybe someday people will be watching You Tube video’s of you and be in awe…course, it won’t be You Tube, technology is changing too rapidly!!!

    • Hi Mary Jane,

      Thanks for the comment! Mr. Roth is a very good organist. I will be on YouTube someday but will take many many years (if ever) to be able to play at the level of Mr. Roth. I think he is either wearing men’s organ shoes or dress shoes.

      I think it is good that I didn’t know how much coordination it takes to play the organ until after I started taking lessons!



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