Baylor University Helping Solve Shortage Of Church Organists

April 7, 2003

by Richard Veit

Baylor University's School of Music is trying to help solve the shortage of church organists with two music camps this summer - the Summer Organ Institute June 8-14 for piano and organ students ages 11 to 18 and the Pipe Organ Encounter July 7-11 for adults. Both programs are under the direction of Baylor's Organist-in-Residence Joyce Jones, who has written an organ method to enable pianists to play the organ as quickly as possible.

"Baylor University is an ideal place for people to come to learn the organ. We have such a wide variety of instruments on campus, and students have the opportunity to try all the varied organs on the campus," Jones said. "The organ summer camps are such a delight, to see how quickly students learn and to watch their enthusiasm over the experience of playing a million-dollar organ."

The programs are planned both for pianists who would like to learn to play the organ and organists who would like to improve their skills. Although Baylor holds the Summer Organ Institute every year, this is only the second time that Baylor has held a similar program for adults. The Pipe Organ Encounter program is an outreach of the American Guild of Organists and is co-sponsored by the Central Texas chapter of the AGO. Although called a pipe organ encounter, Jones stressed that the program will prepare students to play electronic instruments as well as pipe organs.

Both weeks include recitals, master classes, private lessons, practice and an "organ crawl" to visit area churches. The classes will cover topics, such as creative hymn playing, organ registration, improvisation and useful church service music.

The registration fee covers all expenses, including housing and meals on the Baylor campus. For registration forms or more information, contact Jones at Joyce_Jones@baylor.edu or the Baylor keyboard office at (254) 710-1417.

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