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Upcoming Performances

August 25
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 17
8:00 pm Eastern

Faculty recital, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

September 22
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, First Presbyterian Church, Statesville, N.C.

Fall 2019
Guest recitalist, Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, Missouri

December 13
12:15 pm Eastern

Music at Midday, National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

April 5, 2020
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Macon, Ga.

April 18, 2020
7:30 pm Eastern

Concerto organist, Milligan College

June 21-26, 2020
Worship Organist, Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

« Taking a Longview of things | Main | Thoughts on organ pedagogy »
Wednesday
Dec262018

Nerding out

Organists worldwide are resting easy this week, having just completed their grueling Christmas service playing duties. I myself played four Eucharist celebrations in two churches in 20 hours’ time. While it recovers, my tired, feeble mind has noticed that many things I talk about fit under the umbrella of nerdspeak:

1. I am reminded of a previous post about what some people might think if they overheard a bunch of organists in conversation.

2. I nerdily (and smugly?) explained to my girlfriend that her tabletop Christmas tree will have to be taken down and packed up on January 5, no earlier, no later, and that the liturgical police will be watching. She saluted appropriately and went about her business.

3. I nerdily noticed this Christmas that Mathias wrote eighth-note ties rather than quarter notes in A Babe Is Born. I nerdily assert that he did this to show the compound meter, rather than allow the near-constant hemiolas to take over the counting. (How’s THAT for some nerdspeak!)

4. The Gleason nerd in me is desperate to be able to talk to Clyde Holloway once again, this time to tell him about this student of mine who has nailed the technique and the memorization regimen this semester without complaint and without error. My jaw dropped regularly in lessons this semester.

5. I nerd out regularly on Facebook, posting about organs that I call “handsome things.” A few of my friends say that they don’t understand those posts but that they love them and love commenting and reading comments.

6. Want to read some nerdspeak about the two handsome things I played this Christmas? Of course you do:

a. The organ at St. Luke’s Episcopal in Boone, NC, is a thirteen-stop Kney from 1995. The Great is 84Naz2Mix. The expressive Swell is 842Trc8. The Pedal is 1688. This handsome thing is in a perfectly stunning acoustical space. The floor is hardwood, and the pews are not upholstered. High, airy ceiling with wood trusses. Windows on all four walls, offering mountain views. The setting could not be more perfect for Holy Eucharist, especially with snow on the ground. But sometimes the organist nerd in me longs for an 8-foot Principal, a full Swell, and a bit more 16-foot tone. But that’s okay.

b. The 2014 Lively-Fulcher at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal in Blowing Rock, NC, is the biggest two-manual organ Lively-Fulcher has put into such a small space. The room seats only about 150. The choir is only about 20 strong, but they make quite a seasoned, trained sound to overcome the acoustics. The room, though long and uncarpeted, is too low to have any resonance. The sound one hears is beautiful, even if it isn’t consistent throughout the space. The organ is a sumptuous treat to play. The Swell is 1688888844,Nas,2,Trc,M,16888. The Great borrows and duplexes a few things from that but adds its own 16888442M. The Pedal is nearly fully borrowed and duplexed but adds its own nice rumbly 16’ flue. And nerds, just look at all those 8-foots on the Swell!

7. Nerds, how many of us can sit down at an organ we haven’t played in a while but we still know where everything is on it? At St. Mary’s in Blowing Rock, I have to remember that toe stud Generals 7 and 8 have been mislabeled as 8 and 7, which has not been corrected because there would be wood glue removal involved. I also have to re-learn each time where the toe reversible for Great to Pedal is in comparison to Sequencer Next. Those are dangerously close together but on different rows on the bolster. Even now, sitting in an auto mechanic’s waiting room while writing this, I still can’t remember which is which. How’s THAT for some nerd-speak!

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