Magazine article The Tracker

Where We Find Ourselves

Magazine article The Tracker

Where We Find Ourselves

Article excerpt

If you would know if a society is well governed and if its laws are good or bad, examine its music.

-Confucius, Analects

The death knell of the organ is sounded today with annoying frequency. Where we really find ourselves in the history of the organ, however, is not so easily discerned. As organ departments in some universities and conservatories dwindle or close, other departments small, medium and large thrive with budding talents and exciting initiatives. As attendance at organ recitals seemingly shrinks, attendance at organ conventions is on the rise. As the role of the organ in worship becomes more and more restricted, many organ builders have extensive waiting lists of exciting projects for universities, concert halls and churches. As the decline of classical recordings sales seems to be plummeting, a quick glance at the OHS catalogue reveals ample evidence that small recording companies are making available an enticingly wide range of repertoires and instruments. In a day when the appreciation and cultivation of the organ and its music might seem by some to be waning, the continued health and vivacity of the Organ Historical Society is a sign of great encouragement. My reluctance to play along with the note of despondency coming from some quarters is, I hope, more than a sign of stubbornness or naïve optimism. The merit of any viewpoint is completely reliant on the quality of the information that supports it, and a good portion of the task ahead of us, therefore, rests on how well we will be able to inform our colleagues and audiences of the continuing vitality of the North American organ scene. The creation of a Publications Governing Board and the position of Director of Publications is intended to send a resounding note of hope by providing a mechanism by which the mission of the OHS can be strengthened and expanded by cutting-edge scholarship on the historical American organ, and making available a wide variety of scholarly writings, useful resources and music scores of the highest quality.

It is with a great feeling of excitement that I take on the position of Director of Publications for the Organ Historical Society. As one whose first musical encounters were at historical American organs, I value the Society's dual presence as a preserver of the past and beacon to the future with particular pride. …

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