Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

It's been over two weeks since we have spent time together.You are probably thinking this means I've spent more time at the organ bench practicing. In reality, I've been busy having good intentions and  and reading and making excuses. I planned to make plans for us but didn't follow through with the plan.

Blog, you read the couple of paragraphs I shared about my trip to Nashville. I was inspired by my trip and the church I visited. I bet you expected the my excuses to stop!  I received blogging advice that I have yet to implement. I joined Twitter and now follow writers and organists and inspiring folks. Now, I see ongoing advice/inspiration/motivation daily on my Twitter feed. But the excuses to avoid writing continue.

I am BUSY! I work full time and need to actually practice the organ too. I love to read!  I have games on my smart phone to play! Do you understand!?

I've been reading books and blogs and tweets that while help us along in our journey together. I am learning more about myself, writing, and the blog platform. And I am consistently reading that the best way to become a better write it to write! There are no shortcuts.

Thank you, Blog, for waiting patiently for me to return. Together we will succeed (although eventually I will be ditching you for a self-hosted site).


P.S. Do you have good intentions? What plans do you want to follow through on?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 2012 Lesson

Last Friday, I met with Michael Gratz for an organ lesson at Trinity Episcopal Church. For the first time that I can recall I was late to the lesson. I stopped at the bank on the way and the ATM decided to keep my debit card! Fortunately, the bank was opened and they retrieved my card. Between this incident, traffic, and construction I was about 10 minutes late.

When I finally arrived Michael was waiting for me at the organ. We started the lesson with the Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major (BWV 553). As with most lesson, my first challenge was to adjust to the pipe organ hearing the decay of previous notes while playing the current note. I primarily practice on my electronic organ at home and on electronic organs (at least older models from the 70's) there is not a decay. I am still having tempo issues with the second half of the prelude and the entire fugue which is evidence that I did not practice enough with the metronome.

Michael approved my rendition of Come, All Christians, Be Committed. This hymn took many months (possible over a year) for me to learn correctly. It felt great to have Michael check this one off my practice list!

The highlight of the lesson was playing Holy, Holy, Holy. After some instruction from Michael, I was able to play this hymn in a manner that would be acceptable to a congregation. I felt such joy hearing the music coming from the pipes while I played.

Overall it was a great and enjoyable lesson!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Visiting Brentwood United Methodist Church

During my recent trip to the Nashville, TN area I attended a Sunday morning service at Brentwood United Methodist Church

This church was big! It was a little intimidating at first. I arrived early and their contemporary service was underway. The lobby was nearly empty other than a few having a conversation at the welcome desk. I slide by them in search of a restroom. By the time I returned the lobby was filling up and with the size of this church this size I was not easily recognized as a visitor.

During the service, the hymns were well played on the organ by Dr. Gregg Bunn. The music inspired and encouraged the congregation to sing.  This was one of the best sounding pipe organs I have heard. After the service I talked with Dr. Bunn for a few minutes. He confirmed that the church takes very good care of its instruments and keeps the environment at the proper temperature. The history behind the BUMC organs (they also have an organ in their chapel) is extensive.

This Möller organ has four manuals with many stops as you can see in the picture below. When I explained that I was visiting from out of town, Dr. Bunn suggested that I play the organ while I waited for my flight! How exciting would that have been! I politely declined as I wanted to get to the airport with plenty to spare. But really I didn't have the confidence to play such an instrument in front of others.

You may be wondering, just how I decided which church in the Nashville area to attend. I found this particular church by looking for churches within reasonable distance of my hotel, in the direction of the airport, and also listed has having a pipe organ on the website for the Nashville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.  Then I confirmed on the church site which services used the organ.

Console of the Möller Pipe organ at BUMC.

The visible pipes in the BUMC sanctuary.