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Organ playing skills in danger20th February 2012KIP and Poppy Colling are unaware that they embody the musical hopes of many classical organists.For two-year-old Kip and his sister, 5, playing the organ is fun.These Karalee siblings are students of music teacher Michelle Jaques, who's doing her best to keep the art of classical organ playing alive.The need for young players is "desperate", she says."Most organists playing for churches are elderly."In 10 years time, some won't be able to play any more."If we don't do something, there will be nobody to replace them."Ms Jaques is holding a Discover Pipe Organ session this Friday at Central Church, corner of Limestone and Gordon streets, Ipswich, from 6pm."It will include me, my friend Tom Appleton and students playing pieces, and any visitors who might like to have a go," she said."It is fairly rare that young people would have the opportunity to get their own hands on a pipe organ."Emma Colling said her son Kip had "amazing musical ability"."He's just starting to play organ after watching his sister do it," she said."It's a nice instrument to play because of the tones. It sounds different every time you play."
WAVERLY, Iowa --- Churches frequently come to Karen Black in search of an organist.Unfortunately, the demand is often greater than the supply, said Black, campus organist and a professor of music at Wartburg College, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.In addition to recommending college students, this year Black created a scholarship, funded by the Rudi Inselmann Organ Endowment, to teach junior or senior high school students how to play her favorite instrument."It seemed, as a college of the church, a very appropriate thing to be doing," Black added.As of March, five recipients are receiving 12 organ lessons with Black, along with a methods book and pair of organ shoes. In turn, the young musicians are asked to use their skills to service their home church and play for at least part of one service.Of course, Black hopes the music doesn't end there. She wants to inspire a new generation of organists."There's a particular need to further the appreciation of the organ as an instrument and continue its importance and presence in society," Black said.At the Little Brown Church in the Vale of Nashua, Hannah Hake, 16, is often encouraged to put her musical gifts to good use. Hake, a scholarship winner, has played the piano for 10 years and the organ for more than two years."Organists are always trying to get me to play every time I am in church," Hake said.Although she appreciates a variety of musical styles, Hake grew up hearing the organ accompany hymn singing and believes the complex and intricate instrument deserves a lasting place in worship."People need to keep knowing how to play it," Hake said. "It's such an important instrument."That attitude is music to the ears of LuAnn Elliott, an organist with 40 years of experience. When she started playing in the 1980s for the American Lutheran Church in La Porte City, she was in good company. Since then, the others have retired but few are taking their place.Elliott loves to play --- she often gives a contemporary twist to traditional hymns --- and worries she is among a rare breed."I really do think it's something that is actually kind of going by the wayside, which I hate to see," Elliott said.In response to a decline in college students studying the organ, in 1988 the American Guild of Organists offered its first Pipe Organ Encounter, essentially summer camp for young organists. The educational outreach is increasingly popular, so much so that the guild now offers an advanced track, said F. Anthony Thurman, AGO's director of development and communications."This is our primary and best education outreach program for young organists," Thurman said.When it comes to playing professionally or working at a college, organists outnumber positions, Black said. She sees a huge need for more qualified part-time organists --- people willing to play for a church that can't or won't offer a full-time salary.Early exposure is key to creating new, enthusiastic organists, Black said.Natalie Hanson, 17, of La Porte City and a member of American Lutheran Church, is a pianist first. After attending an inspiring organ recital and, more recently, taking a few lessons with Black, she just may be hooked on the demanding and diverse instrument."And the pedals are like a whole other keyboard, too," Hanson said. "It's just crazy trying to wrap your mind around. I have to do something with my feet and my fingers at the same time."The aspiring agricultural engineer hopes to master the organ enough to play as a hobby."It is a really cool instrument because you don't have just one sound. You can have all sorts of different sounds. I never knew how diverse an organ could be," Hanson said.Read More: http://wcfcourier.com/lifestyles/pipes-and-pedals-wartburg-professor-aims-to-revive-dying-art/article_d9c917d1-b151-5c0c-983c-b2d5a9d4d0a9.html#ixzz1uOHnGhSo
it was when David Baker put his hands over his ears as an organ was being played that he knew he had to act.A gifted organist himself he had endured plenty of bad organ playing over the years but this was something else - the performances of a two-fingered organist included. So when he had finished wincing, he resolved to set up an Organ Academy based at Halifax Minster modelled on the St Giles International Organ School in London.This, he hoped would help improve the standard of playing and encourage people to learn how to play this ‘king of instruments’.His initiative was also triggered by a perceived decline in the number of people playing the organ in West Yorkshire churches.Vicars said the shortage meant they had resorted to “karaoke hymn singing” using music played through an iPhone. The academy is designed to provide tuition and support for organists.A former university college principal in Plymouth he has a natural talent for organisation and last year saw his dream came true when Halifax Minster started the North’s first organ academy.The day was led by Anne Marsden Thomas, director of the St Giles School, and students came from all over West Yorkshire with ages ranging from nine-years-old to one gentleman in his 70s.The latter was Bernard Pierce, a game 79-year-old who has been involved with The Good Shepherd Church, Mytholmroyd, for many years and who was anxious to add an extra string to his bow - having also learnt how to play the saxophone and piano.He said: “I saw an item on TV about this Organ Academy, that they were looking for pianists who wanted to learn how to play the organ and that’s how it all started.“I think the hardest part was playing the pedals and different manuals. It’s about four to five months since I started playing and it’s coming along slowly. I just love music and I am very glad I got into it.“I usually have one session with David about every three weeks or so which lasts for about an hour. I took to the organ quite quickly but it’s getting more difficult as it progresses. I have to face it, I just don’t have the dexterity in my fingers that I used to have.”Prof Baker of Mytholmroyd, said: “I had to put my hands over my ears several years ago - it was a horrid service - and it was then that I finally determined to do something about it.“I have been very well supported by many people including the Bishop of Wakefield and Dr Simon Lindley, Organist of Leeds Parish Church and of Leeds Town Hall. My hope was that one of things we could do is to have a ‘marriage bureau’ between churches and organists. The idea is that as we get more people coming to the Organ Academy we can assess their level of ability and put them in touch with churches.“The problem is that there are more organs than organists and although we have a lot of very fine instruments, sadly, some of them are doing nothing more than gathering dust.“I would say that our estimate is that 50 per cent of churches don’t have a proper organist, that’s over the Calder Valley and I suspect that the statistics are much the same across the country apart from the South East and the Home Counties where there are more opportunities to play the organ.”One of those who supported the project was Vicar of Halifax, the Reverend Canon Hilary Barber, who at its launch last year said he hoped the academy would help make sure the “organ survives”.Another is the Vicar of Mytholmroyd, the Reverend Canon James Allison, who in the past has had to lead the music using his iPhone playing it through speakers. Churches are anxious that good music is played during their service because it binds the congregation together and improves the quality of worship. Prof Baker is pleased with the progress made so far with his Academy and is particularly looking forward to Halifax Minster hosting Yorkshire Organ Day today featuring a day full of events with recitals, talks and discussions.