Jack Mitchener has recently been appointed Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music, Associate Professor of Organ in the Townsend School of Music and University Organist at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He also serves as Organist/Choirmaster at the historic Christ Episcopal Church in the same city. A former faculty member at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he also has served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Salem College, the Eastman School of Music (Community Education Division) and the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.
In addition to teaching and performing, Jack Mitchener has had a long career in the field of church music, serving several congregations including the American Cathedral in Paris and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC, where he played the historic E.M. Skinner organ, Opus 712. For the American Guild of Organists, he has been a chapter dean and a member of the National Committee on Professional Education. In addition, he was President of the Board of Trustees of the Moravian Music Foundation, is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, and has been cited in numerous Who’s Who publications.
2018 Breakout Sessions
Creative Hymn Playing
A discussion and demonstration of ideas about all aspects of playing hymns on the organ including introductions, interludes, modulations, registration and general approaches to hymn playing.
Beginning Organ Improvisation
An introduction to the art of improvisation on the organ. The primary focus will be on improvisations based on hymn tunes, but there also will be a general discussion of how to improvise short interludes and various non hymn-based pieces.
Organ Master Class, Part I
Participants will have the opportunity to play any piece they wish and to receive comments from Dr. Mitchener. If possible, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title of the piece you would like to play.
Organ Master Class, Part II
Participants will have another opportunity to play any piece they wish and to receive comments from Dr. Mitchener. This class will be for anyone who did not play in the first master class. If possible, please email email@example.com with the title of the piece you would like to play.
Organ Repertoire - Old & New
A demonstration of organ repertoire through the centuries. The emphasis will be on literature that is appropriate for church services.
Bach Chorale Preludes for the Organ
J. S. Bach was one of the greatest church musicians in history. This session will be a discussion and demonstration of Bach's art of "preluding" on a chorale tune. The approach will include a chronological journey through Bach's chorale-based works.
Healthy Playing Techniques for the Organist
Have you ever felt tired or even exhausted after practicing the organ or playing a church service? Come and hear some ideas of ways to alleviate tension in playing. Renew your love for playing the organ!
Performance Practice from Alpha to Omega
We live in a time when it is understood that we should play Bach and Buxtehude differently from Brahms and Bolcom. This will be a discussion and demonstration of the stylistic differences in organ literature and the performance practices of various styles.