Preparing for Worship

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Preparing For Worship

I remember the first time I heard a pipe organ in person. I was 13 and attended an organ concert at the First Christian Church in downtown Eugene, Oregon. I remember walking into the impressive Corinthian-style building with enormous Tiffany stained-glass windows underneath a massive dome ceiling — quite a sight for a young student who had never really been to church.

As I sat in the curved wooden pew smelling that “old church” musty wood smell, the organ suddenly erupted in glorious sounds. My immediate reaction was, I want to do that!

This morning’s prelude is one of those pieces that takes us from the dramatic to the sublime, exquisitely alternating between praise and prayer. It’s the type of piece that makes a transformative impact because of its dichotomy of sonoric rhetoric played skillfully and artistically by our very own Katherine Pottkotter.

The composer, Léon Boëllmann, is part of the impressive Symphonic French Organ School, which boasts names such as Duruflé and Widor who can trace their “teacher-to-student” roots back to Johann Sebastian Bach — a legacy that lives on through my former teacher, Al Travis, and now through me to our students here at Wilshire — a rich and vibrant legacy of church music and music education.

It was my love of music that brought me into church and youth choir as a high schooler, but it was really the bait of the annual youth choir tour that set the hook, and I was all in. I loved music, but I also loved to travel and to be with my friends. To do both was simply divine.

Wilshire has had such a tremendous legacy of all things music for over 70 years. Seven decades of lives nurtured — nurtured through meaningful text and tune and through relationships and bonds formed during events such as Youth Choir tour.

It is because of your support and encouragement, Wilshire, that we worship God through the music we love so dearly. It is why students in Youth Choir and organ students like Katherine have the opportunities to sing and make melody to the Lord. It is through our Youth Choir that we all may take part as a church in being the very hands and feet (and voice!) of Christ to a world that needs love through a simple touch of beauty so richly graced to us through generations of nurturing and loving support.