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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: February 25, 2009 Archive

Michael Barone on discovering the Pipe Organ

Posted at 3:57 PM on February 25, 2009 by Alison Young

Pipedreams host Michael Barone shared this with me after a 'Pipe Organ Discovery Day' at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Michael says the kids are always enthusiastic, but sometimes the responses of some of the adults are equally gratifying, such as this one from Margaret Gohman:

"You may appreciate this story about my participation as an adult
facilitator during Saturday's 'Pipe Organ Encounter.' What moved me to
tears was a young boy, I would guess him to be about seven years
old, playing on the chapel organ J. S. Bach's Prelude in C from
The Well Tempered Clavier. He was playing it so nicely, sustaining those
half notes in the beginning of each measure very well. And of course at the
organ those notes continue to sound, giving him a different experience of
the piece, perhaps what Bach had in mind. I was moved to tears thinking
that the music of Bach, and hopefully, all organs and organ music, will go

It was very moving to me to think that a child so young had learned this
piece so well and that he was having the chance to play it on the organ, in
particular at that beautiful instrument. And I was hoping a spark will be
lit in him, as it is in so many of us, to love the organ and its music.

I might add that at one point he stopped, and said something like, 'Oh, I
don't know what the notes are here.' And I reached into my brain and ear
and said, 'Oh! You're doing really well; it goes like this.' And I showed
him the notes in that measure and he was able to play them and go on and
finish the whole piece! So it was that sense for him and for me that this
piece of music isn't just any old thing, but that you can go places and
another musician, in my case a much older one, will know what you're doing
and you'll be able to communicate with each other."

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