copyright 2000
Cleveland Chapter
American Guild of Organists

Dean's Message December 2000

In his book Piano Lessons, Noah Adams describes his attempts to learn to play the piano. He decides to learn to play Tramerei, although his teacher suggests something easier. The culmination of his effort is when he dons a tuxedo, lights a candelabra on the piano and plays the piece for his wife as a Christmas gift.

Karen McFarlane recently described to me a surprise concert that her artists gave her on the occasion of her upcoming retirement. Entitled Musical Gifts, the concert consisted of original music, either commissioned or composed by the artists themselves. A poem and a hymn were included. Even to have one piece written expressly for you would be a treat; I can imagine that this outpouring of gifts would be almost overwhelming.

Shortly before my mother's death, I asked her what she listened to during her long housebound days. She said she mostly listened to old tapes of my recitals. I found she had a sizable collection of these tapes, most of which I had forgotten about. Most of us play so often and so easily that we have grown accustomed to the fact of our ability to perform. But our family and friends still see it as something marvelous that we do. Consider a gift of music this year. Maybe a tape of organ music, or if you are creative, a song or arrangement. Have a little private concert for a loved one. My mother used to call handmade gifts love gifts, and they were the best of all.

Joy and peace to you at this holiday season.

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