Upcoming Performances

July 12, 8:30 pm Central European
Guest recitalist, Cathedral, Rieux-Volvestre, France

July 22, 7:00 pm Eastern
Petr Eben Windows with James Stokes, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, N.C.

August 26, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 23, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Schantz organ 40th anniversary, Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, Va.

September 28, 7:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, Camp Hill, Penn.


Summer 2013

Summer 2013 may go down as the summer of the least amount of practice time for me EVER. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Summer travels have begun. Last week, I took my studio into the Midwest to visit organ building shops. Visit the studio's Facebook page to read and view all about it. We had a great time.

Then two weeks at home, then I'm off to the American Guild of Organists Pipe Organ Encounter in Birmingham. Then a week or so more on the road, including to Kilgore, Tex., to begin selecting a program to play for the third annual East Texas Pipe Organ Festival in November. Then off to a tandem bike tour from Paris to Strasbourg to Amsterdam! Then classes begin five days after returning home. By the time that day rolls around, I will probably wish I had practiced...


Last Dance

Tomorrow, I'm off to play my final recital for this season. Six recitals in five weeks. It was a quick Spring, but it will be over Tuesday night. I'll follow that recital with dinner, of course.

Then classes will wind down pretty soon after, and I'm looking forward to filling my head this summer with newly memorized notes: Widor Romane, the next two or three installments of the complete Franck (probably the first two Chorals; I haven't decided), maybe the Dupré A-Flat Prelude and Fugue, and maybe some Reger.

Any suggestions? I'm all ears.


Backing trackers

This past weekend, I performed on two of the loveliest American trackers I have ever encountered.

The first was Fisk Op. 82, 1982, at Christ United Methodist Church in Greensboro, NC. That organ surprised me -- although it was built during a time when screech and scream were the norm, it sounds the way we try to build them today! Tonally, it has held its own and remained relevant (a favorite church term) lo these many years. It has plenty 8-foot tone, reeds in all the right places, and a reliable action that, while noisy, transported me back to Europe. And it sits in a perfectly splendid acoustic. At 46 stops with no pistons, it is a bit unwieldy. It would be nice to have a full complement of ventils, or at least hookdown couplers. But alas, all there is is a ventil for the Swell Trompette and 2'/Cornet. That's it.

The second organ was the rather stunning Jaeckel Op. 43 at Brevard College. Beautiful organ, solidly built, lots and lots of wonderful, useful, colorful stops. But that organ sits in a most inhospitable room. While the organ sounds absolutely thrilling from the bench, it merely purrs out in the room and never gets a chance to crank up. Tragic. Maybe someday, something can be done about that.

In any event, I recommend both of these organs. They are at once beautiful and instructive. Even if tracker or historic style isn't your thing (and I'm not saying one way or the other for myself), you can't deny these builders' valiant attempts to build things of beauty and integrity.


What a week

Three recitals and a two-day organ crawl, all in nine days' time. I needn't say more, but I will.

So I played Reubke on a noonday Lenten recital on Good Friday. Then on Easter Sunday evening, seven of my nine students converged at my mother's to sleep over and head out the next day to visit organs. You can see photos and a bit of a journal on the studio's Facebook page.

Now, I'm wrapping up some office work and some teaching before heading out again, this time to prepare for a recital in Greensboro, where I will make my maiden voyage with the Widor Romane. Two days later, it's Reubke again, this time at the Porter Center in Brevard.

What a week. I still love this line of work, but I'm dreading the day when I'm too old and feeble to do all this in one week.


The Family

At this very moment, there are three students and one partner visiting my house. They have driven up my icy street to paw through free music, play anthems on the Allen, play anything at all on the Hauptwerk, and work on homework for music theory and business law.

At other times, I have had as many as 8 of my 9 students here, to work on a conference report for the magazine, work on a proposal for a new digital organ for the university auditorium currently being renovated, build the Hauptwerk, plan an outdoor organ recital on the Hauptwerk, eat my world-famous spaghetti, and just hang out and be supportive.

The final tally:

Dinner out with students: $25.

Paper, pens, and pencils for homework and reports and back-of-a-napkin dream lists: $5.

Watching these students exercise good manners and mutual support and enjoy the non-judgmental safe haven of my house: priceless.