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Upcoming Performances

October 1, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Ga.

October 15, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, First United Methodist Church, Gastonia, N.C.

October 22, 4:00 pm Eastern
Inaugural recitalist, Allen organ, White Bluff United Methodist Church Savannah, Ga.

November 12, 3:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Charles Town Presbyterian Church, Charles Town, W.V.

February 11
Inaugural recitalist, Casavant organ, Forest Lake Presbyterian Church, Columbia, S.C.

March 9, 2018, 12:15 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

March 11, 2018
Guest recitalist, Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Valdese, N.C.

May 13, 2018, 5:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, N.C.

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Tuesday
Jan222013

Olympic form?

The more organ recitals I attend, the more sensitive I become to a perceived apathy from performers. Picture, say, any Bach trio Sonata or the Duruflé Toccata. Wild rides. Fingers and feet flying everywhere. And yet an organist finds the time in the heat of battle to hang his/her feet on the bar across the bottom of the bench. Several thoughts fly through my head at that point: 1) Do those feet really have nowhere else to go? Do they not have some notes over which they might hover, instead? 2) Is this organist bored? With a trio Sonata????!! 3) Is this organist prepared? 4) You know, in some cultures, it would be considered rude to show the soles of your feet in public...

Regardless the questions that go through my head or the answers to them, when that happens I have become distracted from the music, and that's not good. No Olympian is allowed to stop and rest during the race. Singers are not allowed to break character during an aria to drink water or rest their backs. Why, then, should it be permissible for an organist to allow hands or feet to "check out" of the proceedings and go to a neutral corner during a very non-neutral musical activity? To this writer, that sends a subtle message of apathy or maybe even "OMG" to the listener.

I am one of the fussiest organists I know. After you have something sounding good, go one more step and make sure it LOOKS good, too. Sit up tall. Sit more or less still. Punch pistons in character. Keep hands out of lap. Keep feet off the bench bar. Don't lunge for notes and pistons and the box -- be there; plan ahead.

Fun activity: compare the most popular performing organists. Which ones physically stay in the game during a piece, and which ones check out here and there? It might be instructive to notice that at the next recital you attend or even play. Constantly assess why the popular organists are so popular.

Overly fussy? Not at today's tuition rates! Offer students the sort of attention to detail they might not get everywhere. A great organist needs to be able to do much more than just play pretty.

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