Greetings all! Jon and I are hosting my friend Marc Fitze from Switzerland, who is playing a concert at my church today (Oct. 1). We haven’t seen him for over 15 years since we were all students together in Boston, but it feels like nothing has changed, even though many things happened since the last time we met. There is something about the friends whom I’ve met through music that is different from those friends without. Of course, I am not saying it is a better kind of friendship, but knowing where each other is musically, even when our paths were crossing, is so comforting and encouraging. In the middle of my studies at conservatory when I hung out with friends such as Marc, Jon and others, I realized that making the decision of growing through music through the whole of my life was the best decision I could make for my life, and I still think it was and is. What a gift to be able to live with music, to learn, grow and share!
A word of thanks to all involved with our first meeting of the year at the Paul Fritts & Co. workshop in September — a great kickoff for this program year! Not only did we have the chance to see and hear a new and beautiful organ, but we also met many new faces! So exciting!! Our next meeting will take place on October 16 at 7:30 at Christ Episcopal Church with a program on the hymns of the Reformation led by Dr. Samuel Torvend. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about this great body of hymnody in this 500th Anniversary year of Martin Luther.
Invite your friends, and see you there!
Naomi Shiga, Dean
May I say, “happy fall” already? The end of summer always leaves me with mixed feelings of wanting to spend more “summer life” time relaxing, recharging, but also being excited with the possibilities for the newness of things beginning again, new repertoire, new friends, new everything! To all of you, welcome back to the Tacoma AGO season of programs for 2017–2018! To those of you who are new to our chapter, a special welcome to you!! Our chapter is always looking for new learning opportunities and ways of sharing our knowledge, our music, and the fabulous instruments we have here in Tacoma. The planning committee and executive committee have been hard at work this summer planning for this season’s programs, and I know you will enjoy these meetings. Our first chapter meeting for the season will be on Monday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fritts shop (630 121st St. E., Tacoma, WA 98445). We will have an opportunity to see, to listen, and to play the newest Paul Fritts & Co. organ before it leaves the shop for its future home in Bloomington, IN. Please feel free to invite your friends and be there!
Happy Spring! This is the last Dean’s letter this season, and this month we will close the program year with our annual student recital. Thanks to the students for their participation this year with their busy school schedule. On and off through the year the students performing this month came to our monthly meetings, and I got to know everyone a little better. What interesting, artistic and intelligent people they all are. For this year, organ students from PLU as well as our scholarship recipient, Amy Castle are the only students from the chapter to perform (maybe with some of our members participating as well). I believe that you know them too, but in case you don’t, I would like to introduce them briefly here.
Amy is a senior at Covenant High School, and she has been taking organ lesson from Jonathan Wohlers for several years. From this fall, she will attend Seattle Pacific University. We have observed her musical growth these three years. Wow… what a talent. We will miss her, but I hope that she will come back to join us at AGO whenever possible since her home is here! There are four PLU organists this semester. Charles is sophomore pursuing a music education degree with a choral emphasis. He plays keyboards on Sunday evenings for University Congregation’s praise team. His passion is singing, and he is a part of PLU’s Choral Union. Wendell recently learned he will be a Seattle AGO scholarship recipient. His former life was as a boat captain for 15 years and now he is working on his nursing degree. He studied organ with Doug Cleveland before coming to PLU where he is a music minor. Jayden is junior majoring English literature with a minor in visual art. When you have a chance, ask her to share her art notebook. Just amazing! Her favorite composers are Debussy and Ravel and she enjoys playing piano, but decided to take organ lessons this year because she like the sound. This is her first year taking organ lessons. Chris is a senior in music education graduating this semester. His plans after PLU are to study music therapy. While at PLU he took piano lessons as well as organ. His introduction to the organ was through our POE Tech! Yay!!! He told me how much he enjoyed our POET! All the night meetings and actual work putting that event together—hearing this from him made me feel all the efforts of those in our chapter who worked on the POET really payed off. We made young people get excited and look at Chris, he knows so much about the organ and he plays beautifully. Again, good job and way to go, Tacoma AGO!!
Thanks, student members for providing music, and non-student members. Let’s simply enjoy music! Thanks everyone for your participation for the AGO in 2016–17. Enjoy your summer and see you in the fall with new program year!
Spring has sprung! There are so many flowers that came out from the ground just in the last few days, happy from all of the rain. Whenever I see the heads of spring flowers coming up from the ground, I feel the love of the people who planted them years ago. What courage they give us… without any words, just quiet in their being. I realized last year that for some reason one of the groups of daffodils around our front cedar trees always shows bigger flowers than the year before. This circle of flowers blooms, dies, sleeps and wakes up, blooming again, bigger every year. Here they are again this year, the most beautiful yet, and so I say my prayers that my music might grow like these flowers. My hope is that the more I come back to study and play a great work, the better and more musical it will become. In March I found myself reading Die kleine Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach. It is a memory of Bach written by his wife Anna Magdalena. Have any of you read it? I don’t know if it is translated into English, but it is a very easy, casual read. There is not much written about Bach’s music except in the last chapter, but you can learn about Bach as a teacher, a colleague, a husband, a father and as a person from the testimony of his beloved. Interestingly, this time as I was reading I found that I was more interested in Bach as a father. Perhaps becoming a parent has helped me to focus on how to share my life with young lives. It is interesting to think about what part of the book will travel to my heart the next time I come back to it. As I return Anna Magdelena’s book to the shelf, I also say thank you to all the flowers for giving us courage and hope for the future! See you at the next PLU recital by Curt Sather on Sunday, April 9 at 3 p.m. and the reception at David Dahl’s afterwards. And for a real spring garden experience, the Dahl residence is the place to see true beauty of nature in bloom! A treat you don’t want to miss!
Out of blue, one of my very talented pianist friends sent me an e-mail highlighting the fact that there are so many great composers born in March: Vivaldi, Haydn, Telemann, Chopin, Ravel, Mussorgsky, Sarasate, Bartók, and more. Of course, as we all know, J. S. Bach’s birthday is this month, and in celebration there are Bach events/concerts everywhere. Seek one out! It’s a great way to celebrate our greatest composer for the organ. For many of us, Bach’s music is our “meat and potatoes.” My friend’s message went on to say that for people like us, who love Bach, “every month is a Bach month.” And so this year, I’m trying something new: to celebrate a great month of great musicians, I am planning to play and listen to as many March composers as I can. Spring is time for new things, and so I’m excited for new musical discoveries. The days are a little longer now, with a little extra light. It is refreshing and gives me courage to start something new. The dark-rainy winter will be over soon, and now is the time to open up some new boxes for a new spring! Something like…. Jeux d’eau on piano!