Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

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The Bach and Sons Organ and Multi-Media Experience Coming to a City Near You

Organist Jeannine Jordan with media-artist David Jordan will present their organ and multi-media event, Bach and Sons, to a St. Louis audience in February 2014.  Hosted by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Des Peres, Missouri, the concert is part of the Music at St. Paul’s Concert Series and will be presented on Sunday, February 9th, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

In celebration of Bach’s 328th birthday, the Jordans will present Bach and Sons twice in March 2014 in the state of Oregon.  The first concert experience is presented by the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan of Corvallis, Oregon as part of their Sundays@3 Concert Series on Sunday, March 16th.  The second Bach and Sons concert experience is hosted by Rodgers Instruments of Hillsboro, Oregon and is presented on the new Rodgers four manual Infinity pipe/digital organ at the Corporate Headquarters Showroom on Sunday afternoon, March 30th at 3:00 p.m.

The Jordans also recently presented Bach and Sons to an enthusiastic audience at the Region VIII Convention of the American Guild of Organists at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salem, Oregon.

In October the Jordans traveled to Ohio to open the 2013-2014 Music on Market Series at Wooster United Methodist Church, Wooster, Ohio with a performance of Bach and Sons. To learn more about the exciting Bach and Sons experience, visit http://www.bachandsons.com

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist



Are You Planning Time for Reflection this Summer?

Ah……It’s Summer

Summer is often regarded as a time of refreshment, rejuvenation, inspiration, and relaxation.  The spring editions of our professional journals list pages and pages of courses, conventions, classes, and camps to refresh our souls and bodies and prepare our minds and spirits for the work of the year ahead.

Musicians often work and live as much in the future as in the present.  When one worship service ends, the preparation for another six weeks to six months ahead begins.  When one concert performance comes to a resounding and successful conclusion, the promotion of concerts years in advance begins anew.  Before the applause for well-prepared students performing in their spring student recital dies away, the scheduling of the next session of lessons has already been done.  As one newsletter is sent, others are well underway.  Hence the “that was then, this is now, but what lies in the near and distant future is really important” becomes the mantra of a busy musician.

So when should we take time to look back?  to enjoy our past accomplishments?  to learn from past successes?  As a forward-thinking, forward-looking musician and person, looking back and taking time for reflection can be a challenge, but also a great joy.

Some years ago while pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, I was required to write “Reaction Papers” on every subject imaginable.  The papers, while rather annoying to write, did force me to look at a situation, person, class, professor, or challenge in a deeper way than I might have.  Maybe we should each take on the summer challenge of not necessarily writing “Reflection Papers” but at least taking the time to reflect on the joys, challenges, and successes of the past year before we charge ahead renewed and invigorated for the coming year.  What do you think?                                                                                Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

Want to Recharge Your Creativity?

Take An Artist’s Date

Several years ago, I came across an interesting book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.  Chocked full of ideas for recovering one’s creativity and living the artist’s life, I found several of Cameron’s ideas intriguing.  One was the concept of the Artist’s Date.

To quote Ms. Cameron, “Artist Dates are assigned play.  The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery.

Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, ‘what sounds fun?’ — and then allow yourself to try it.”

10 ideas for an Artist’s Date

  1. Support the local arts scene. Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit.  Visit www.bachandsons.com to find the location for the next live Bach and Sons concert in your area.
  2. Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.
  3. Read a book of short stories such as  On the Heels of an Organist.
  4. Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience.
  5. Stop by the library, and check out some CDs.
  6. Take a long soak in a hot bathtub
  7. Visit a “creative” shop that has nothing to do with what you actually do–an art supply store, a fabric shop, a music store.
  8. See an Oscar-nominated movie or a foreign film.
  9. Listen to your favorite music while sipping on a cup of hot cocoa or cappuccino
  10. Watch the sun rise or set

Boundless, unending sources of inspiration are yours for the taking!

Let your world heighten your senses and creativity.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

It’s Tough, But Musicians Need To Keep On Keeping On

You keep on keeping on. You have ethical consistency and predictability.

The anecdote, “The Gifted Musician” from Hidalgo’s writing, encourages us to consistently and predictably practice not only our instrument but also integrity in our musical life:

“Most people only enjoy listening to music, but some people also enjoy creating music. Some musicians are good, some are better and then there are those who are exceptionally good—considered to have the “gift” of music. But even they have to practice.

I attended a concert recently where a fan of the featured musician walked up to his favorite performer and said: “You’re an outstanding musician!” The artist replied saying: “Thank you, I appreciate you saying so. I practice everyday.”

Just as we as musicians must practice every day to maintain a high level of artistic talent, so too must we practice implementing integrity every day in our musical lives. 

We must keep on keeping on with what we know has integrity as performing, teaching, and church organists.

Fill Your Musical Lives With Those Who Have Integrity

You hire integrity and you promote those who show an ability to be trusted.

Fill your musical lives with those colleagues and students who have integrity. Share ideas with them, learn from them, listen to them, interact with them, and encourage them to grow in their professional competencies.

Your musical colleagues and students are a wealth of information.  Encourage those in your musical circle to share their ideas for programs, church music, workshops, cohort building, and practice and performance tips.  Everyone has a different musical background and thus may have totally different insights than yours into a piece of music or a performance experience.

With an open and receptive mind, a teacher can always learn as much or more from her students than she shares.  I encourage/require my students to bring to each lesson at least three questions.  These questions range from “how do I pedal this phrase?” to “what is a gemshorn?” and always stimulate interesting discussion and a great learning opportunity for both student and teacher. T

Take time to listen to your colleagues.  Attend their concerts, workshops, and church services.  Every organist plays in a unique style and quite possibly you will hear music you want to add to your repertoire, a unique soundscape, or a different way to introduce the Doxology.

Build community activities such as recitals and play-in opportunities into your teaching studio.  Students learn so much from one another in a supportive and nurturing environment.

None of us ever gets enough praise and encouragement.  Make sure you give more than you receive in this area.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist


Being Honest But Modest–Trait of a Musician With Integrity

You’re honest but modest. You let your actions speak louder than words.

I frequently talk about and write about the two “P” words—Practice and Performance. However, it is important that I do more than talk and write about this subject; I also practice, create and perform new programs hoping that my example will encourage my students to work toward their practice and performance goals.

Creating programs takes sometimes months of research. Programs with a theme are always audience pleasers.  Discovering that theme can take many twists and turns:  an article read, a new piece performed, a thought from a student, an idea found while walking the beach or walking through an art gallery all can lead to that “new” program.  Sometimes the “discovery” phase can take weeks or even months.  Once the theme is solidified though, the creation of the program can begin.

For a program such as my organ and media event, Bach and Sons, the idea came from a series of solo organ concerts I presented at the Abbey Bach Festival where I played on one night the secular organ music of Johann Sebastian, Carl Phillip Emmanuel, and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and on the second night the sacred organ music of those composers.  These programs planted the seed for Bach and Sons.

Eighteen months later, after extensive research, practice, and preparation and with the help of an eight member focus group the concert was premiered in Anchorage, Alaska to an enthusiastic audience.  Since then it has enjoyed many performances.

My students are well aware that I not only talk the talk about practice and performance, but spend hours a day in practice for those many performances throughout the year as a concert organist.

Four More Churches–Four More Unique Pipe Organs

Our trip from Wittenberg to Dresden was filled with beautiful churches, interesting organs, and great people.  We left Wittenberg and our new friends, Schlosskirche Kantors and Organists, Sarah and Thomas Herzer, early in the morning with plans to arrive in Brandis by 9 a.m. to play the historic Donati organ of 1705 in the Stadtkirche there.

Arriving in the quaint town of Brandis we quickly located the church, met the pastor and were introduced to the Kantor.  He proudly showed us this historic organ and left us to enjoy the gorgeous sounds of this lovely instrument which had had only minimal restoration over the past centuries.  We played and recorded for several hours and after getting thoroughly chilled we headed for the KA and made our way to Rotha once again.
In Rotha, the pastor unlocked the massive doors to St. Georgenkirche and led us to the organ loft.  Unlocking the organ doors, he left us to enjoy, play and record the second gorgeous instrument of the day, a Silbermann from 1741.  (This instrument is the first of two organs Silbermann built in the village of Rotha.  We played his smaller one-manual instrument of 1742 at St. Marienkirche earlier in our trip.)  Perfect for the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach, this organ had the now familiar singing principals, chiffy flutes, and a sound so lovely it was difficult to leave St. Georgen to continue the journey.

Continue we did, though, traveling through village after village of red-roofed timbered homes we arrived in Zwickau to meet Henk Galenkamp, Kantor and Organist of the Zwickau Cathedral (Dom).

The Dom was in stark contract to the plain, simply furnished Protestant churches in Brandis and Rotha.   The opulence and grandness of the Dom was breathtaking.  Kantor Galenkamp was a marvelous host and guide.  We spent the afternoon with him first exploring the organ of the Dom–a large four manual modern instrument of  the 1960’s built by the Jehmlich firm.  The organ was being renovated so was not fully playable, but I was able to use about half of this grand instrument and with Henk as registrant enjoyed playing my bigger repertoire for an hour.  David recorded and had a marvelous time photographing the stunning details of the cathedral.

Henk continued as our tour guide taking us to an early 20th century church built in the art deco style.  The Sauer organ case, also in the art deco style, perfectly fit the space.  The organ built in the 1920s had a lush romantic sound reminiscent of the Sauer organ in the Berlin Cathedral.

Leaving Zwickau, we made our way to Glauchau.  With Henk at the wheel, villages zipped by as we wound our way to the St. Georgenkirche.  However, before we visited yet another church, Henk took us to a Bakerei for coffee and a pastry.  I had a pastry puff mounded high with whipped cream.  Nothing like those German pastries!  We enjoyed a wonderful hour getting to know Henk and hearing of his work as a Kantor at the Dom and a concert organist.

We made our way back to St. Georgen where we met the Kantormusikdirecktor, Guido Schmiedel who presides over a newly restored Silbermann of 1730.  Guido and Henk served as my registrants as I played my way through an hour of my varied Johann Sebastian Bach repertoire. Glorious sounds,, simply beautiful casework, an amazing organ in a great space.   Needless to say, we recorded another hour’s worth of Bach on a perfect instrument.  All too soon, however, the evening had arrived and our hosts had rehearsals to conduct.

Henk drove us back to Zwickau where we bid adieu to another new friend.  Finding a quiet restaurant on the city square (in view of the Robert Schumann statue and the perfectly restored city hall) we enjoyed a true German dinner before traveling on to our B&B in Dresden.
Arriving well after dark in Dresden, we found our lodging and fell into bed in a sleek contemporary styled room in this new B&B.  Ah…..finally….a good bed!

Recording of JS Bach’s From Heaven Above made on the 1705 Donati organ in Brandis;  recording of JS Bach’s Sleepers Wake made on the 1741 Silbermann at St. Georgen in Rotha;  recording of Concerto in a minor and the St. Anne Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach made on the 1960 Jehmlich at the Zwickau Dom;  recording of the Fantasia in G by JS Bach made on the 1755 Silbermann at St. Georgen in Glauchau are included on my CD, The Organ Music of Bach and Sons available at Pro-Motion Music. All pieces played by Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist.

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