POE ADVANCED GRADES 9-12 Birmingham Chapter University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama June 25-30

By Freese, Faythe; Breland, Sherelyn | The American Organist, December 2017 | Go to article overview

POE ADVANCED GRADES 9-12 Birmingham Chapter University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama June 25-30


Freese, Faythe, Breland, Sherelyn, The American Organist


Our chapter held its POE Advanced on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, a location well situated in relation to many fine area organs. During the week, there were 15 students in attendance and nine faculty. The students hailed from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, and their skill levels were exceedingly high. Faculty included Joby Bell from Appalachian State University, Lynne Davis from Wichita State University, Isabelle Demers from Baylor University, Faythe Freese from the University of Alabama, Nathan Laube from Eastman School of Music, Jeff McLelland from Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Shelly MoormanStahlman from Lebanon Valley College, Bruce Neswick from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oreg., and Fred Teardo from the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham. The students had one private lesson each day as well as opportunities to play a variety of instruments, from tracker to electropneumatic and from two- to four-manual instruments. Volunteers from the chapter drove students and teachers to the lesson sites, and volunteers from both host churches and the chapter served as monitors during the lessons.

On Monday and Tuesday, the students had a teacher on a specific organ, and on Wednesday and Thursday, the students, teachers, and organs were switched, thus broadening the students' experience with different teachers and instruments. There were masterclasses every day offering yet another opportunity for students to experience two additional teachers' styles and viewpoints. The opening recital performed by the featured recitalist, Isabelle Demers, was held at the University of Alabama on the 86rank, four-manual, mechanical-action Holtkamp organ. During the week, classes were presented on a wide variety of topics such as improvisation, organbuilding, practice and keyboard techniques, performance practice, and accompanying. On Monday, Jeffries Binford demonstrated the new 80rank, three-manual Létourneau organ at First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa and the students enjoyed open console time on the instrument. Bruce Neswick taught "Improvisation I" by allowing the students hands-on opportunities to improve their improvisation skills. Faythe Freese, assisted by UA organ student Christopher Henley, led the "Surefire Practice Techniques" workshop. On Tuesday, students enjoyed open console time on UA's five organs, followed by the "Keyboard Technique and Body Awareness" workshop offered by Shelly Moorman-Stahlman and an "Organ Tech" workshop taught by Phil Parkey, president of Parkey Organbuilders, and Randall Dyer from Randall Dyer & Associates. …

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