Enjoy the postlude from our January 27 service, featuring Toccata (Suite Gothique) by Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church organist, Mark Willey. A note from Mark:
"You likely have dozens of tunes connected to the stories that make up your life's experience. I know I do. One of the longest running such threads in my life is the piece that I played for the postlude (Tocatta).
In the Spring of 1990, I was practicing in a room with a small organ in the main building of the Conservatory of Music in Geneva, Switzerland when the door opened and a tall, lanky gentleman poked his head through the crack to ask for directions to another part of the building. He identified the piece of music i was playing, and I asked him if was an organist himself. "A little bit," came his response. He said that he was the organist at a little church in Paris called "La Madelaine." He invited me to come and visit him and drew a simple map on the back of the music book I was practicing.
When we followed the map while visiting Paris several weeks later, the "little church" it guided us to ended up being the second largest church in Paris, with the first being Notre Dame! The gentleman also turned out to be a very big deal in the organ world of Paris. After hte service, he invited me to play the organ and suggested that the piece he'd heard me practicing would sound good on that instrument. if I close my eyes I can still hear the final chord rolling through that magnificent space.
Two years later, I set out with my father on a drive across the country to Baltimore, where I would begin my musical studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. While driving through the plains of Illinois, we saw a sign for the Wicks Organ Company and stopped in for a tour. They invited me to play one of their recent organs, still unfinished there in the shop, and I played the same piece I'd played that day in Paris. Though it didn't sound quite so magnificent, my father still remembers and can hum it's opening theme.
One of my first services at Spencerville, then Director of Music, John Lintner, had been scheduled to play this piece for the postlude. I was going to turn his pages. Just before the end of the sermon, he turned to me and said, "you play it" and we reversed our roles. I've played this piece about once per year ever since. Last year, I had the honor of turning pages for my student, Eric, as he played it for one of his first church services, proving that the circle of life and music continues to roll on.
The afternoon after this video was recorded, I boarded a plan to California where I would emcee a luncheon planned to honor and celebrate the life of my father. He is still holding on to life after a long fight with heart disease and kidney failure. We are blessed to have him with us and will, along with 120 of his closest friends, tell him what he means to us tomorrow.
As I was planning this service, my father asked if I would make a video of me playing the organ to show at the service. I was hesitant and somewhat reluctant, but he insisted. "Play that piece. You know, the one that goes 'dum, da dum, da dum.'" So on this day, I would play the "Toccata" by Lëon Boëllmann, one of my father's favorite pieces, before rushing off, this video in hand, to fulfill a promise to my father.
It's Christmas time at worship here at Spencerville. Join us as we listen to musical selections, including Brahms, Rutter's Magnificat, and more, followed by a Christmas homily by Pastor Chad Stuart, and finished off with a rousing chorus of congregational singing by the Spencerville Church congregation.