Heidi Bender - Page 43 of 45 - Inspiration and stories from the organ bench (with cats)
March 5, 2012

Lenten Recital Series

Last Friday, I went to an organ recital at the First Congregational Church in downtown Ann Arbor. Each Friday, during Lent there is an organ recital at noon presented by the Ann Arbor chapter of the American Guild of Organists. This church is a short distance from my work place which means I can easily attend when my work schedule allows.

The First Congregational Church was built in the 1800’s. I enjoy visiting these older churches and appreciated the architecture. The pipe organ is from 1985. There are not many pictures of it on the church’s website. If permitted, I will take a few pictures of the console at next Friday’s recital.

The recital was preformed by the Men’s Schola Cantorum, and organists Thomas Strode and Naki Sung Kripfgans. The Men’s Schola Cantorum began the program with Lent Prose. Thomas Strode than played 3 selections from The Stations of the Cross, Op. 29 composed by Marcel Dupré. He continued with Prelude and Fugue in A minor (BWV 543) – J.S. Bach.

Next, the Men’s Schola Cantorum, which consisted of 2 men, sang Audi benigne Conditor. Naki then played a piece with the same name, by Marcel Dupré, on the pipe organ. Naki ended the program with Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor (BWV 582) – J.S. Bach. Watching this piece performed was a marvel as Thomas Strode changed the stops many times throughout the performance. It was dance like how he switched from one side of the console to other to pull stops. On many organs the organist can change which stops are pulled with the push of a button, but this organ did not seem to have those features.

Which stops are pulled determine how the organ will sound. Check out the organ terminology here.  I have so much more to learn myself, not only in how various pipe organs function but also about the music and composers.

I am very much looking forward to next Friday’s recital. I hope to see you there!

February 27, 2012

Life Lessons from Organ Lessons

In March, I will be writing about life lessons taken from the organ bench. Sound strange? There have been a number of instances during an organ lesson where the problem I’m facing and (usually the solution) could also be applied to life. For example, dealing with dissonance… Wondering what dissonance is? Check back in March to find out!

February 22, 2012

February 2012 Lesson

Yesterday, I traveled to Trinity for an organ lesson. The sun was shinning which made for an enjoyable ride. My lesson was scheduled for 1:00 so for lunch I had a peanut butter sandwich and an apple on my drive. I surely did not want to feel hungry mid-lesson!

When I arrived Michael was at the organ with Chris who attends Trinity. He is an organ enthusiast. Chris listened to at least part of my lesson or possibly all of it (I quickly forgot his presence). I was thankful that he did not stay in the balcony as I still have anxiety to play in front of others (except for my cats!).

I have been pondering what should I share about my actual lesson. When a few people asked me how it went I responded with “good”. But what does that really mean? Just answering with “good” feels just as fake (automatic) as when someone asks “how are you?” and the answer is a quick one word reply only I can’t respond with “good, and how was your lesson?”.

So what made my lesson good? First, Michael remains patient with me as I continue to work on the same pieces month after month. I expressed some frustration with the length of time in learning a piece and received encouragement.  Also, the sound of the pipe organ at Trinity is awesome compared to the electronic organ I practice on at home.

God willing, some day I will finally become an accomplished organist!