Two of our members have recently begun interim faculty appointments at prestigious institutions: Christa Rakich at Oberlin and Ezequiel Menendez at Holy Cross.
Christa Rakich writes:
January is Winter Term at Oberlin, so I haven’t started teaching individual students yet. I did teach 19 half-hour lessons on my 2 interview days, though, so I’ve met pretty much everyone, and have an idea of each student’s capabilities and needs. Very impressive. It’s going to be a fun semester, and I’m going to hear lots of great organ playing.
As impressive as the students are the facilities: 33 organs on campus, many in practice rooms or studios, some of the larger ones in concert halls or church/chapels. I was lucky to hear faculty member Jonathan Moyer’s performance of the whole Clavierübung III on the big north-German style Flentrop in Warner Concert Hall. Magnificent playing on a magnificent organ. The Cavaillé-Coll style Fisk in Finney Chapel is the other “famous” organ on campus. Organ students host an “Organ Pump” there at the stroke of midnight on the final Friday of each month. The event is an unpredictable mix of musicianship and mayhem that attracts the general public. For the final piece, the audience is invited to sprawl out on the stage to feel the thunder when Opus 116 rattles the floorboards.
But some of the smaller organs are even more intriguing: the Bozemann-Gibson Silbermann style organ in nearby Peace Community Church, for example, or the 1/4-comma meantone Brombaugh organ in Fairchild Chapel, or the recently acquired Greg Harrold 18th-century style Spanish organ.
Oberlin is Organ Nirvana, to be sure. In fact, October 23-26 of this year, to honor the 40th anniversary of the Westfield Center, we will host a conference on Collections and Collectors, with a focus on Blending Past and Present. I hope some of my friends from the Hartford Chapter will attend! Details here: Call for Papers – Westfield Center
Ezequiel Menendez writes:
I am teaching at Holy Cross College. I started in November. There are three organ students. They all received full tuition scholarships and are excellent musicians. The organ is amazing as you know. My title there is: Distinguished Visiting Scholar.
I am part-time at the College and continue as full-time Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Hartford. I just celebrated my 20th Anniversary at the Archdiocese and the Cathedral.
From the Holy Cross Website:
The Organ Scholarship is a four-year, full tuition, scholarship, renewable on a yearly basis, offered to a high school senior who will major in music or double major in music and another discipline. The recipient of this scholarship will have at his/her disposal the 1985 four manual, 50-stop mechanical action organ built by Taylor & Boody Organ builders, located in the beautiful St. Joseph Memorial Chapel.