Tiffin Archives - Heidi Bender

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April 17, 2014

How I decided to become an organist

The question I am most often asked is “Why did you decide to become an organist?

The answers I have given people have not always been the same. I usually respond with a short answer:

Organist Heidi

Organist Heidi Bender

  • My church didn’t have an organist and I thought I could fill that role!
  • Or, I always wanted to try it (not 100% accurate – see below)

Let’s start at the beginning

At my childhood church in Tiffin, OH, the organist was Roma King. I remember feeling mesmerized watching her feet on the pedals. It is possible that I never shared this feeling with anyone. I was a very quiet child. I would like to say that I always wanted to try it. But if I “always” wanted to try it, it sure seems like I would have given the idea more thought before I was in my 20’s. Perhaps, a suppressed desire is a better description.

Skip ahead 15-20 years

When I got married in 2002, I felt a little sad that my church no longer employed an organist. I was not courageous enough back then to seek out an organist to play at my wedding. The idea though of my church not having an organist stayed in the back of my mind.

Fast forward 7 years

In February of 2009, my husband and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. One of the lessons focused on careers and suggested follow up reading included Dan Miller’s book 48 Days to the Work You Love. An exercise in this book is to write down all the skills you currently have, passions, and interest. Learning the organ showed up on my “interest” list. Another step was to write goals and I put to learn to play the organ within 2 years.

I did not take immediate action. Sometime after writing that goal list, I remember sitting in church on a Sunday morning staring at the empty organ bench. I thought to myself, I can do it! I can learn to play the organ. Then I started looking on the Internet for organists in the area. I discovered Michael Gartz listed as the organist at Adrian College. One June 9, 2009 found the courage to send him an email. I received a response back that same day and he agreed to give me lessons! In September 2009 I started lessons and continue to take them.

Current Day

Since starting lessons, I have learned more about the pipe organ and its role in church services. I love the idea of the pipe organ being used to lead people in singing! This is one reason why I keep going! Becoming an organist is one of the greatest joys of my life.

What do you have an interest in that you’d like to do someday?