I never thought about myself living in the United States for 30 years when I first arrived O’Hare airport in August, 1986. Time flies. After 30 years, I work as a music cataloger at Northwestern University Libraries, and play the organ every Sunday at North Shore United Methodist Church in Glencoe. I am also a member of the North Shore Chamber Arts Ensemble, based in Glencoe.
Like some of you, I was a piano major. I still remember the very first organ lesson with Margaret Kemper, during my junior year in Northwestern. Playing organ was an epoch-making event in my musical life. I’ve never listened my playing so carefully until then. (I have to confess this to my piano teachers…) Organ produces the sounds as long as you press the key—yes, it is obvious, but I didn’t really understand what that meant, until I took lessons with her. Through the lessons with her, I was able to appreciate the true beauty of counterpoint, discovered the beauty of organ music, and fell in love with music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Cesar Franck, and other great composers. After received MMus in piano performance and pedagogy, I went to Eastman School of Music to study chamber music and collaborative piano. During my 2 years in Rochester, I was an organist at Avon United Methodist Church, playing 1895 Felgemaker tracker organ, but also worked in Sibley Music Library as a student worker. I was more interested in studying library science, particularly music librarianship, and headed to Indiana University in Bloomington for Master of Library Science program. My first job after the library degree was in New York City—at New York Public Library for Performing Arts, Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound (now a part of the Music Division), and my immediate supervisor was also an organist. I came back to Chicago North Shore area in 2008, when I was offered a music cataloger position at Northwestern University. Since then, I resumed taking organ lessons with Margaret Kemper through the Music Academy, and I am still enjoying lessons with her.
As a music cataloger, I create bibliographic records for scores and sound recordings so that our library users can search the online catalog. I am one of the first persons to take a look at newly published music coming from all over the world! Many of music librarians are also organists. Every year, the Music Library Association has an annual meeting in different cities, and one of my favorite activities is organ crawls. I squeeze clothes and other stuff in every possible way to make a little space for a pair of organ shoes in my suitcase while thinking which of my favorite organ pieces to take with me. I join other librarians/organists to visit several different churches, meet the organist, and try wonderful instruments. We also share lists of organ music published for each year.
I have been enjoying the workshops and recitals since joining NSAGO in 2015, and I am looking forward to the programs in the coming year.