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A Personal Connection to This Sunday's Prelude

Many stories in the Bible tell of people walking along and someone who appears to be unknown joins the walk. After talking the walkers realize the person who has joined them. And of course the guest changes their lives.

As a undergraduate student at Ohio Wesleyan University, our organ teacher took several of his organ majors to Philadelphia for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. Rex Keller packed his interested students in his camper and we spent several days hearing great organs and incredibly inspiring organists. One day, we played "hookey" from the conference and drove into New York City so we could see the great cathedrals and organs.

Our group of young organists was walking down street and outside the great Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, we had an elderly man join us. Rex seemed to recognize the man. We talked and eventually went our different ways. We were inspired by the man on the street. Later, I inquired, "who was that man?" Rex looked at me, smiled, and said, "young man (referring to me), that was Seth Bingham, one of the 20th century organ virtuosos and composer of great organ music. I was inspired to go home and practice!

My organ prelude this Sunday is entitled Florentine Chimes. Seth Bingham inscribed in the music: "Cathedral bells, palace bells, church bells, cloister bells - all mingle in melodious clangor many times a day in Florence."

--Jack


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