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55 When Siebold was growing up in Minnesota, her role model was a church organist. “I just felt it when I went to the church and heard the organ,” she says. “I knew that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be just like that lady. Her name was Carol. I admired her, and would do everything she did. I sat how she sat, and I would do what she did. I started in first grade. They made me do piano first. Piano, piano. Now can I be a church organist? No, not yet.” rganists typically take lessons at a young age, but not too young. Their legs must first be long enough for their feet to reach the pedal board. When word gets around that they can play the organ, many quickly get their first jobs. “I’ve been playing in churches since I was about 15,” Bryant says. “You’ll find that to be true for almost every-body. They start when they still can’t drive and their parents have to take them to church. With small churches it’s always hard to find apprentices. If you start taking organ lessons, then pretty soon somebody calls your organ teacher up and they say, ‘Sara is doing pretty well,’ and then you get this call from a church: ‘We need an organist, we hear you’ve been taking lessons for about three months, would you be our organist?’ That’s how it works for most people. There’s a lot of on-the-job training.” For those who have the passion and the ability, it’s hard to step away from the console. Woodward moved to Wilmington in 1962 to be the organist at First Presbyterian. He “retired” in 1996, but by then he was already playing on Fridays at the Temple of Israel. And once word got around that he wasn’t playing on Sunday, he soon was busy filling in at churches around town. “When I retired in 1996 from the church I thought, I can stay home and get all this reading done,” he says. “But the organist over at the Fifth Avenue Methodist church called and said, ‘Charles can you come and play for me? I’m going to have a baby.’ I played until she came back. Then I went and played at Trinity Methodist until they hired somebody. From there I went to St. Paul’s Episcopal, and stayed until they hired somebody. They I went to Pearsall Presbyterian until they hired somebody. I thought, OK, I’m done, but now I’m the interim organist at Covenant Moravian Church. I have not stopped playing in all of this time.” Woodward has seen church music change over the years, from hymns sung by choirs and congregations accompanied by organs to contemporary praise choruses played by bands. “Churches are going more to praise and glory and bands these days,” he says. “I don’t mind at all. You have to do what you have to do to get people in the door nowadays. My attitude is you can be stuck and say, ‘No, I’m going to do it this way,’ and then you are out in left field by yourself.” That seems to be a common attitude among organists that play at churches with traditional and contemporary worship services. “There are varying ways that people worship,” Smith says. “As organists, we have to respect that. We do favor the organ because it’s our instrument. We think it’s a good way to worship God, but it’s certainly not the only way. My church has multiple services and multiple styles, and I’m OK with that.” They believe they are playing the king of instruments, but peacefully coexist with other forms by keeping their eyes on the reason why they began playing. “As Christians and church musicians, we want people to feel a sense of connect-edness to the divine, and to the Almighty,” Tabler says. “We are not alone, God is www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM with us.” To receive a free bumper sticker or sponsorship information: The Dove 89.7 FM PO Box 957 • Wilmington, N.C. 28402 Tel: 910-763-2452 Fax: 910-763-6578 www.life905.com • [email protected] O


2015-12
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