Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Archive for the ‘hymn texts’ Category

This is One Amazing Book

Check our pew racks and you’ll find not only a Bible and a Book of Common Prayer but another blue-covered book, The Hymnal 1982.    It is one amazing and important book.  Our hymnal draws all of us, all Episcopalians, together musically in the same way that the Book of Common Prayer draws us together in prayer and liturgy. 

Hymns are powerful expressions of our faith, powerful reminders that our Lord is with us in struggle and sorrow, powerful exaltations of joy, powerful and loving reminders of God’s grace.  Singing our praise through hymns is another form of communing with Christ and each other. 

I had many plans for this newsletter article this month, but because of visits from my family, work, practice, and most recently, the death of a dear friend, I put off writing the article until the day after our editor wanted it.  Well, now I know why.  It is so I can share a story with you about the power of hymns – the power of a hymn we sang several weeks ago, “The Lord My God My Shepherd Is.”

Two weeks ago, I learned one of my students (and a very dear friend) was diagnosed with colon cancer, a mass on the liver, and pulmonary embolisms.  A shock but I was sure with prayer and the miracles of medicine this wonderfully caring, generous, woman of God would go through and survive treatment for all the above and life would go on.  I was wrong.  She declined dramatically and quickly.

One week ago, I was teaching Paul, one of my many incredible organ students – a 54-year-old man who is a savant in some very particular ways, and also has cerebral palsy.  His lessons have been such an amazing journey for me.  He grew up in the Lutheran church the son of a pastor.  He has heard hymns all his life and amazingly can play by-ear, even with his physical limitations, almost any hymn his sister, Ruth and I can name or hum.  Not only does he know the tunes, but he knows how many verses each has.  Woe is me when I choose a Lutheran hymn that happens to have 11 verses as he will play every verse for me as he is singing that text in his mind.  His lessons are often jaw-dropping for me.  And…if I give him a word, like “shepherd,” he will create a medley of hymns that contain the word “shepherd” in some verse or other of the hymn.  Truly it is astounding seeing/hearing this man/ child share God’s glory through hymns.

And, so back to the story.  A week ago, I knew their friend and fellow-student, Karen who attends and plays the organ at Paul and Ruth’s church, was in the hospital and struggling mightily after colon surgery.  So, I decided to record Paul playing “The Lord is My Shepherd” and send it to Karen.  The response from Karen’s daughter who shared this recording with her Mom, was that Karen was at peace and smiled throughout the recording.

Today I sent word of Karen’s death to my student group.  Several expressed their sadness at losing a friend and colleague but the following response from Ruth, my student Paul’s sister, truly shows the power and glory of the many hymns, but in particular #663 from our amazing blue book, The Hymnal 1982.

“I am so grateful for you and your moment of genius last week during Paul’s lesson.  Recording him playing The Lord is My Shepherd was clearly a God-inspired moment.  I know that song brought joy and comfort to Karen and her family.  It has brought comfort to me at hearing this news.  It amazes me how you and Paul were used in this special way.  I am grateful.”

And this is the power of the great hymns of our faith. 
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Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organist, has a large organ studio with students of all ages and skill levels.  She is also the Minister of Music and Organist at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon. She and her husband, David Jordan, media artist of Pro-Motion Music , are the creators and presenters of the dramatic story-driven organ and multimedia concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea, Bach and Sons, and Around the World in 80 Minutes.  Subscribe to our free monthly e-newsletter for more intriguing and engaging articles – click here #DrJeannineJordan  #OrganAndMultimediaConcert

The Old Year has passed away

  The old year now has passed away;                                
We thank you, O our God, today
That you have kept us through the year
When danger and distress were near.

We pray you, O eternal Son,
Who with the Father reigns as one,
To guard and rule your Christendom
Through all the ages yet to come.

Take not your saving Word away,
Which lights and cheers our sols each day.
Abide with us and keep us free
From error and hypocrisy.

Oh, help us to forsake all sin,
A new and holier life begin!
Forgive the old year’s sins, and bless
The new year with true happiness,

Wherein as Christmas we may live
Or die in peace that you can give,
To rise again when you will come
And enter your eternal home.

There shall we thank you and adore
With all the angels evermore.
Lord Jesus Christ, increase our faith
To praise your name through life and death.

Johann Steurlein (1546-1613).  First published in Sieben und Zwantzigk newe geistliche Gesenge in 1588 in Erfurt, Germany.
Translated by Catherine Winkworth and published in the Chorale Books for England in 1863.
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Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organist and David Jordan, media artist of Pro-Motion Music are the creators and presenters of the dramatic story-driven organ and multimedia concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea, Bach and Sons, and Around the World in 80 Minutes.  #DrJeannineJordan  #OrganAndMultimediaConcert

Hymn-based organ repertoire

Excerpted from the Jordan Organ Studio October 2018 Newsletter.

Most all of us are currently playing some sort of hymn-based repertoire either for use in a church service, for the upcoming recital, or simply for pleasure.

Question: Do you know when the hymntune your piece is based on was originally composed? Do you know the text of the hymn? Have you discovered something interesting about the composer of your piece? Hmmm…a little research makes music come alive. I simply love learning something new about repertoire — and each of you certainly helps me do that on a weekly basis!

My new lesson week began yesterday afternoon with three inspirational lessons following our worship service. All three were filled with hymn based repertoire. My eight-year-old’s lesson (following a service where she played three hymn variations for the prelude) included new hymn based repertoire in addition to her favorite trumpet tunes; my newest student – a talented 13-year-old with the goal to become a church organist, added two more hymns to her “completed hymn list” and prepared a Bach Prelude for an upcoming church service; and Walter and I played hymns from the 1920 Protestant Episcopal hymnal and Bach’s Orgelbuchlein for two lovely hours. Just like the lessons earlier in the week, hymnody played a huge role in each of their lessons.

I simply love the fact that in any given week, with you my wonderful students, I have the opportunity to explore hymns from a myriad of denominations, to learn new hymns (I think Walter got the award for adding the most hymns to my hymn knowledge base this week — who knew the Episcopalians of 1920 had so many different hymns), to see favorite tunes with different texts, to hear creative settings of these amazing pieces, and to simply hear some of my favorite pieces of music.

It’s a really great life being your teacher! I am so blessed!
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Interested in organ lessons for yourself, your child, or your grandchild?  Dr. Jeannine Jordan loves to teach and has studios in Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Forest Grove, Oregon.  You may reach her at jeannine@promotionmusic.org.  Fulfill a dream…start organ lessons today.

The Tie That Binds

Question: What is the tie that binds all of us (the cohort of the Jordan Organ Studio) together?

Answer: As I do weekly, Friday morning I was reviewing my notes and thoughts from the lessons I had taught in the past week, when it occurred to me that most all of the lessons have a common thread running through them. That thread is hymnody.

Some of us, by the nature of our church positions, practice and work on hymns to be sung weekly by our congregations. Those Sundays just keep coming around with hymns galore! For all of us who are church musicians, hymns are and should be a part of every practice session and lesson. We need to remember that the hymns are THE MOST IMPORTANT pieces of music we will play for our congregations!

Question: How is your hymn playing? Does your congregation sing well? Are you an excellent leader? Is your playing precise and of good tempo? Are you creative with your introductions? Do you use alternative harmonizations to suit the text or ethnicity of the hymntune? Hmmm….so many questions to ponder.
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Interested in organ lessons for yourself, your child, or your grandchild?  Dr. Jeannine Jordan loves to teach and has studios in Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Forest Grove, Oregon.  You may reach her at jeannine@promotionmusic.org.  Fulfill a dream…start organ lessons today.

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