A beautiful autumn morning set in a stunning gothic sanctuary was the backdrop for our opening fall workshop with guest clinician, Elizabeth Naegele, Saturday, September 26, at First Presbyterian Church, Deerfield. Dr. Naegele is Professor or Music and Coordinator of Organ Instruction and Ethnomusicology. Born of missionary parents in the Congo, she developed an early knowledge of World Music. The first hour of her presentation centered on organ with other instruments, and dozens of examples were given, with several ethnic selections as well. A handout provided a good variety of music repertoire with organ, including bagpipes, piano, all kinds of woodwind/brass instruments, with some duo-organ and duo-organ/duo-piano.
The second half of the morning was spent on hymn playing/singing, entitled “Vibrant Congregational Singing: Hymn Playing and Improvisation”. She stressed that the main responsibility of a church organist is to encourage his or her congregation to sing. She emphasized enhancing the text of the hymn, registering the organ to undergird and encourage rather than overpower congregational singing, and tips were provided on solo melody, counter-melody/descant, transposition, modulation, reharmonization and introductions/codas. Examples were played and sung, with the closing hymn “Englebert” sung by the workshop attendees, followed by a brilliant organ toccata based on the same tune.
Dr. Naegele’s experience and knowledge of the subject, along with her gracious spirit, transported us into two hours of rich learning and joyous music making.
Music publishers represented were Hope Publishing Company and Darcey Press with ample selections for purchase. Bev Sheridan provided outstanding home baked goods for the mornings’ refreshments, Bill Crowle, organist at First Pres helped host. Lunch was served at Biaggi restaurant across the street from the church for several of the attendees. It was a great day of learning, sharing, and making and reacquainting friendships.