Monday, July 18, 2011

Yippee! After waiting for over 32 years, I finally have a fullsize organ in my house for practicing. What a blessing!
My Organ and Piano

Now, I can just walk down the hall to practice whenever I want. No more sweating in the church sanctuary in the summer, or freezing in the winter. This is just wonderful!

I'm glad I took the time to do the walls and flooring in my living room before the organ arrived. My living room has now turned into a music studio! :)
Organ Fits Right In

I took photos of the organ delivery, to show how it all happened.

Everything on the truck:
Organ on Truck

Unloading: Here Come the Pedals

Inside the house, I'm waiting for the organ to come in:
Ready for Organ

Outside, the guys are discussing how to maneuver the organ through the front door:
Discussing How to Move in Organ

It's in!
Organ in the House

Cover removed:
Organ Uncovered

Here's the bench!
Organ Bench

Arranged the way I like:
Ready for Pedals

Pedals attached, and powered on:
Pedals Attached - Powered On

Complete! In this photo, I had already spent over an hour practicing on the organ, so I was taking a knitting break.
Knitting Beside the Organ

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I started learning to play the organ when I was 15 years old. I was already a working church musician, and had the church organ available for practicing. For the past 32 years, I've worked as an organist or pianist at several churches.

In all this time, I've had to practice all my organ pieces at church. This was always a seasonal thing, because churches don't keep their sanctuary heated or cooled all week long. Practice time has been a "get it when I can" thing, before or after church services. During the fall and spring, I've been able to practice a little more often, but never long enough.

Usually, after practicing a couple hours, I wanted to keep going, but the drive there and home added more time to the event. So, I had to stop, turn off the organ, put away all the music, and save my practice time for later.

I've always dreamed of having a real, fullsize organ at home, so I could practice as long as I want. I've watched the auctions on eBay, the listings on Craigslist, and asked around at churches. Usually, I could not afford the instrument, or it just wasn't the right kind. Most of the ones I found didn't have a full 32 pedalboard.

But, now my wait is over. I just won an auction for a Baldwin C630!
My New Organ - Side  (Baldwin C630)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wanderer

Last night, I decided to try writing a piece of music. I've been a musician for almost 40 years now, but have only written a few simple songs. But, I've been hearing an orchestra playing beautiful music in my head since I was a little girl. I've often wondered what would happen if I tried to get some of that music out of my head. So, last night, I sat down at the piano, grabbed a handful of manuscript paper, and just started playing and writing it down. I went through a few sheets of manuscript paper, and finally ended up with one simple piece for piano. I'm calling it "The Wanderer".

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I just recently recorded another video at my church, performing "Prelude in D" by Fischer. The sound quality still leaves much to be desired, but I'm still kinda happy with it.

I REALLY need a new video camera from Santa this year! :(

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yesterday, I was looking in a local shop that carries dollhouse miniatures. I found the COOLEST thing - a miniature pipe organ!! Of course, I had to have it.
Miniature Organ

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sandy's Music Videos

I was performing organ and piano for a wedding at Third Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, so I decided to make a quick video while I was practicing.

It's not perfect, but it's not too bad. My little camera ran out of memory when there were only a few notes left to play. :( Oh well. That's the breaks.

I'm performing "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach at 3rd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here I am performing "Ah Holy Jesus" during the noontime Lent services at Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here are more videos of me performing on my keyboard at home:
(Pardon the sound quality - I'm using a little handheld digital camera.)
Maurice Ravel's "Pavane pour une Infante Defunte"

"Reverie" by Claude Debussy

"Linus and Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi

This video was recorded on the Kawaii grand piano at Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.
"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by Mark Hayes

And here is a finger exercise I teach to all my students.
Me as Church Organist
I've been a musician since I was 11 years old, beginning piano lessons with Miss Catherine Ritch in Stallings, North Carolina. Since that time, I've studied voice and organ, and performed as a church musician for almost 30 years.

Here's a few of my music honors:

Sun Valley High School Chorus
- accompanist, alto, and Vice President
Sun Valley High School Band - percussionist, Chaplain
NC Honors Chorus
- alto, was awarded a position with this choir for two years.
NC Sr. All State Band - percussionist
Honors Band at USC - principal percussionist
Wingate University - Church Music Major - organ and voice
Wingate University Concert Choir - accompanist, alto
Wingate University - Trustee Scholar

I began working as a church musician when I was 15 years old, in 1979.
A Younger Me at the Organ Keyboard
Here are my church music pursuits:
Wilson Grove Baptist - pianist - 5 years - Charlotte, NC
Sunset Road Baptist - pianist - 1 year - Charlotte, NC
Mulberry Baptist - organist - 7 years - Charlotte, NC
Stallings United Methodist - organist/pianist - 6 months - Stallings, NC
Mount Harmony Baptist - organist/pianist - 6 months - Indian Trail, NC
Hickory Grove Baptist - organist - 1 year - Charlotte, NC
Mallard Creek Presbyterian - organist/pianist - 5 years - Charlotte, NC
Memorial United Methodist - organist/pianist - 4 years - Charlotte, NC
There were a couple sabbaticals during those years, but for the most part, I've consistently been a church music for almost 30 years.

Since I was a church musician, I was often hired as a wedding musician. I have performed for over 200 weddings, playing piano and organ, and occasionally singing as well. It is always such a joy to perform beautiful music for someone's special day.
Me - Wedding Pianist in the 80's

I have also been called on to perform for funerals. I remember my first funeral performance - so heartbreaking and emotional. But, I soon learned that the music at a funeral is very special to the ones who attend the service. Now, I really enjoy playing for funerals, sending off those who have passed away with a musical fanfare, and helping to ease the spirits of those left behind. Sometimes, I have felt the presence of the one who has passed away, looking over my shoulder as I perform. It's quite an experience.

I began teaching private piano lessons at Cannon School in Concord in the year 2000. When I first started teaching, I had about 10 students. By the end of 2003, I was teaching 60 students a week, which became an unsurmountable task. Also, I was driving over an hour each way, so I decided to cut ties with Cannon School, and pursued teaching on my own in my area.

Currently, I am teaching 12 students, which is a much more manageable number, and they are not far from my home. I really care about each of my students, and we have a good relationship. I'm so glad I decided to become a piano teacher. It's the most fulfilling job I've ever had.

I'm still a church musician, as the organist at Memorial UMC in Charlotte. The choir is so loving and supportive. Our choir director, Todd Henry, is doing a superb job. Whenever he takes a vacation day, I become the "organist/choirmaster" for the day, and it allows me to try new things. I'm pleased with my experience at the organ and piano, and now I am able to learn more about directing. Life is good.
My Organ Bench at Church