Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘organ and multi-media concerts’

A Grand Time Was Had By All

What a splendid afternoon!  We so enjoyed sharing our newest organ and multi-media concert experience, Around the World in 80 Minutes, with a full house at our West Coast Introduction on Sunday, January 29th at Nestucca Valley Presbyterian Church in Pacific City, Oregon.  The audience was fascinated with the wide diversity of the music of the world enhanced with stunning visuals and live camera feeds.  The official World-Premiere of this concert will take place in Wooster, Ohio as part of the fifth anniversary of the Music on Market Concert Series.  We invite you to visit our website, www.aroundtheworldin80minutes.org to catch the excitement of this new concert.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea.  Contact Dr. Jordan at jeannine@promotionmusic.org for information.


Barbara Owen – Keeping the Story Alive Part II

We continue the interview with Barbara Owen, historian, lecturer, organist, and church musician.

J:  You are also the author of among four other major works, the definitive source, The Organ in New England.  At an amazing 649 pages, this is the only comprehensive discussion of the artistic supremacy of organ builders in America’s golden age.  Please describe the importance of your work for not only organists, but organ enthusiasts and music-lovers worldwide. 

Ms. Owen:  The genesis of the book was my 1961 Master’s thesis, at a time when American topics were not very popular as material for academic papers. But even after that was finished I kept accumulating more material on the subject as several years passed. As the bicentennial approached, American topics became of more interest in the academic community. Eventually it was suggested that I work it into a book, and thanks to some supportive colleagues I applied for and got an NEH grant that allowed me to take a few months off from my day job and write, write, write – on a portable typewriter, with the floor littered with crumpled paper, and a bottle of white-out handy.

The grant also made more research possible, so I was poring over old newspapers and music magazines in libraries, and digging into church archives. A small publisher with an interest in organs took on the task of publishing it, and it finally came out in 1979. I was glad that I focused solely on New England, though, as it allowed me to do it in depth, and for the first time to attempt a completer picture of the extraordinary achievements of the highly skilled artisans who founded an American organ-building industry that eventually rivaled that of England and the Continent.

Around the same time Orpha Ochse tackled the entire country in an excellent but more general survey, and others started writing about organ building in New York and other regions, so by now one can have a quite long bookshelf of studies related to organs and their builders in America.

J:  The Organ Historical Society is unique in its mission as itcel­ebrates, pre­serves, and studies the pipe organ in America in all its his­toric styles, through re­search, edu­cation, ad­vocacy, and music.”  To reiterate, the focus is exclusively on American pipe organs.   As Past-President of this organization, why do you think the work of The Organ Historical Society is of such importance?  And urgency?  Would you please give some examples of the work done by the Society?

Ms. Owen:  The O.H.S. had its origin in a meeting in a church choir room of several friends concerned about the state of historic American organs, during the 1956 AGO National Convention in New York. And yes, there was a distinct sense of urgency, as we had all been witnessing the rebuilding or outright destruction of historic American organs. Hence the name.  I was elected first president. Similar organizations already existed in European countries, so there was precedent.

Our first effort was a mimeographed newsletter, named The Tracker since at the time most of those older organs had mechanical action, and also because we were intent on tracking them down and studying them; it is now an important journal. Soon it included listings of threatened organs available for relocation, which eventually became the independent Organ Clearing House, by means of which many “orphan” instruments have since found new homes.

As membership grew, annual conventions were held in various locations, and these too helped to raise consciousness about the worth of historic organs. In Europe, historic organs are often given special citations, and so a program was instituted to cite American organs of especial cultural significance.

Membership growth spurred more projects, one of the most substantial being a library and archive devoted to another kind of preservation, containing books relating to the history and construction of organs, periodicals, and archival material, some from defunct U.S. organ building firms.  Next came the OHS Press, which has since issued many books dealing with facets of the organ in America.

Then a scholarship program called the Biggs Fellowship was established specifically to allow younger people to attend the yearly conferences and become members. Some have since distinguished themselves as performers, teachers, or members of the organbuilding trade. So in various ways the O.H.S. and its members continue to have an important impact on the organ culture of America.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, interviewer, is a concert organist who promotes the music of early America in her organ and multi-media concert experience, From Sea to Shining Sea.

Keeping the Story Alive

Some of us are genealogists, studying our families and the tracing of our lineages and history.  My Mom and my cousin are genealogists.  Thanks to their painstaking research, I can trace my American lineage back to the Mayflower and many generations before that in England.

Some of us are historians, researching, studying, and writing about the past.  Barbara Owen is a historian.  Thanks to her meticulous research and for publishing her findings, I credit my interest in American organists, organ music, and organs to her.

Ms. Owen began her work on American organs in the early 1960s when “American topics were not very popular as material for academic papers.”  In 1976, on the urging of E. Power Biggs, Ms. Owen published four volumes of early American organ music.

A few years later, I was searching for a dissertation topic.  I was fascinated by the early American organ music in Ms. Owen’s collections.  It had a character unlike any other organ music I had ever played.  Armed with the desire to perform this music and learn more of these composers, I proposed the topic of “Early American Organists” to my dissertation committee.  Still, as with Ms. Owen’s thesis twenty years earlier, American topics were not very popular as material for academic papers, however, with the foresight and creativity of two of my advisors, my topic was approved, and shall we say, the story goes on!

The anecdotes and music I collected and published in that dissertation so many years ago, have become From Sea to Shining Sea, the organ and multimedia concert experience my husband, David, and I created and perform.  And to keep my family’s story alive, I narrate the stories of From Sea to Shining Sea as a Mayflower descendant.

To discover more about our audience-engaging organ and multi-media concert experience, visit www.fromseatoshiningsea.net

Thank you Mom, thank you Duane, thank you Barbara for “keeping the story alive” so I can share it with the world in my unique way.

What are you doing to keep “your” story alive?

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and David Jordan, media artist are the creators and performers of From Sea to Shining Sea, a multi-media and organ concert experience.

Leaving A Legacy Is Really Pretty Simple

Our legacy does not need to be like Johann Sebastian Bach’s in its weight or force.  Our legacy is being made every day in the decisions we make. We come to a fork in the road and sometimes, “just take it,” not thinking about the long lasting effects that it may have.  Other times we are very deliberate in our decisions and decide which fork to take, which path to create.

My personal observation is that when people focus on “leaving a legacy,” they start to make big mistakes. However, when you focus on your gifts and use them fully and completely, you will be doing compelling things. You will most likely leave a positive inspiring legacy. We, as musicians, have a great opportunity to leave that very positive legacy.

I recently came across a very interesting question: “What will your legacy say about what you have done to make your profession better than when you entered it?” Great question! You don’t have to change your  profession; just improve it somehow in your way, with your own gift, with your own effort and dedication.

So what am I saying? Really, legacy is pretty simple. Do what you do (your own unique gifting), do it well, do it with the focus of helping other people in their journey, and you will certainly leave a great legacy.

Here’s to leaving a great legacy by doing what you are doing, doing it better than when you began, and helping others through what you do.

Onward and forward!

Legacy: Ready or not — here I come!

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

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