Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘Bach’

Whose Legacy Is It Anyway?

Let me share a legacy with you. Let’s see “when” you guess who left us this legacy.

Orphaned at 10, he and his younger brother walked 30 miles to live with their older brother for two years. He then needed to move on because his older brother and wife were expecting yet another baby. From the age of 12 he made his way on his own, singing in church choirs, playing music as a street musician.  Determined, persistent.

He did not have a formal education but learned composition by “reverse engineering” music scores. Needless to say, he was pretty intelligent, and independent.

It was expected in his country that once you were selected as organist for a church, you would stay there your entire life. He didn’t. He went on to several different positions and butted heads with much of the leadership of towns, churches, courts, and choirs. Patience was not one of his virtues.

He had one job interview that promised fame, comfort, money, and security. One catch: he would have had to marry the boss’s daughter. Okay, well…he walked 200 miles back home to work out plan B.

He was 18 years old when he landed his first choir job and had choir boys older than himself. He ended up in a street brawl with one of them,  a bassoonist, and allegedly drew his sword and cut the vest of his opponent to shreds.

One of the things he did throughout his career was focus on creating glorious music for the church and court. There is no indication that he was hoping for some kind of legacy that would live on forever. He was doing his job. Competitive? I would guess. But consumed with leaving a legacy? No, just truly absorbed with doing his job really well. And his focus was certainly Soli Deo Gloria.

Yes, Johann Sebastian Bach left what we consider a substantial legacy of highly intelligent instrumental music, oratorios, motets, and dedication to his art, and  well, you know: “Soli Deo Gloria.”

Most of his legacy is the great music we enjoy, some of his legacy is the tattered vest of the bassoonist.

When he died, his music was on the wane in deference for more “singable” popular music. Hmm. But there was truth and a  foundation in his music that has driven and inspired us for centuries.


Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with David Jordan, media specialist are the creators and performers of two unique audience-engaging organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

The Purpose of Art is to Produce Thinking

To quote Erik Wahl, American graffiti artist, speed-painter, author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, “The purpose of art is not to produce a product. The purpose of art is to produce thinking. The secret is not the mechanics or technical skill that create art – but the process of introspection and different levels of contemplation that generate it. Once you learn to embrace this process, your creative potential is limitless.

Artwork should be an active verb (a lens by which to view the world) not a passive noun (a painting that sits dormant in a museum). Creativity lies NOT in the done but in the doing. Art is active and incomplete. Always shifting, always becoming. Art is a sneak peak into the future of potential, of what could be. Not a past result of what has been already done. Art is a process not a product.

Art is a human act. Art is Risky. Generous. Courageous. Provocative. You can be perfect, or you can make art. You can keep track of what you will get in return for your effort, or you can make art. You can enjoy the status quo, or you can make art.”

How profound!

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of two organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.  They love making art!  Check the Upcoming Pro-Motion Music Performances page of this blog to experience one of their instantly audience-engaging events.

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Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan



What is Bach and Sons?

B&S Logo SmallOrganist Jeannine Jordan breathed life into the women in composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s life Sunday in Hillsboro, Oregon. Using her acting skills and her musical talent to present “Bach and Sons,” a multimedia organ concert at Rodgers Instruments Corp.,  Jordan opened her performance with the labored strains of Toccata in D Minor, transporting her audience to the 18th century to meet Bach’s benefactor, his two wives and his daughter. Of his seven children, Bach also had two sons who lived to adulthood.

“I’m always trying to think outside the box to find ways to get people to understand the organ,” said Jordan. “It’s a way to express what the organ really can do — showcase Bach’s music and do it in a 21st century format.” The multimedia presentation March 30 is the only one of its type currently in production, added Jordan.  

Jordan provides the musical prowess and her husband, David, adds technological wizardry that includes multiple cameras, screens, projectors and computerization. He sets up the live shots to play in conjunction with the historical presentation. Cameras show the organist’s fingers and feet (clad in tap shoes, sans taps) deftly working the instrument to punctuate the presentation with the appropriate musical tones.

Jaeckel Tracker Organ Duluth MNThe organist not only plays, she switches vests and scarves as she takes on the persona of the women in Bach’s life in order to tell the story. Jordan’s passion is to introduce the organ to as many people as she can. With the number of students taking piano and organ lessons in decline, “We have to get young people involved so the instrument will survive,” she said.

Her love affair with the organ began in fourth grade, when her piano teacher advised Jordan to begin playing the organ as soon as her legs were long enough. By the time she began organ lessons in seventh grade, she was already in love. It was a good move. “You can put yourself through school, and you can always have a job as an organist,” she reasoned.

Part of the education Jordan hopes to provide is the history of Bach, whose compositions spanned music’s Baroque period before he died in 1750. “Most organists start their playing careers with Bach. I have played many other styles of music, but the ultimate compositions for the organ I believe are by Bach,” Jordan said. Bach was a “consummate musician who was constantly working, not because he was famous at the time, but because he was doing his job,” explained Jordan.

Most listeners may not be able to name most of his compositions, but they recognize the melodies. Bach mastered several instruments, including the violin and harpsichord, but his first love was the organ, which he referred to as “the king of instruments.” This summer, Jordan and her husband will take their show to Europe. While there, she will play in the church where Bach was married, in Germany.

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