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POE Alumni Spotlight

POE 2015 alumni feature – Timothy Schreiber

My name is Timothy Schreiber, I have attended the 2015 Wichita POE, 2016 Waverly, IA POE, and the 2017 Birmingham, AL POE. I have been studying organ since early 2014, and I have a degree in Organ from the University of Kansas. The Wichita POE was formative in my early development of skills at and passion for the organ.  The POE is an excellent format for inspiring young organists. This is evident in the fact that all of the connections I made at the 2015 POE still play the organ, all of whom now also have, or are working toward, degrees in organ.

I have several fond and vivid memories from the 2015 Wichita POE. First and foremost, I arrived several hours late! Still dressed for church, I arrived while everyone was at dinner, checked myself into my room, and found my way into Wiedemann Hall to the glorious tones of Prof. Lynne Davis playing away at a suite of French Classical music. It was daunting, as a fourteen-year-old, to arrive late and on my own. However, it was a matter of minutes (from the conclusion of the recital) until friends began to be made.

We shared an extremely late night or two (which I DO NOT recommend![although it is almost inevitable]) talking organs, organ music, and organ stoplists. A prank or two may have been played before our merry band of teenaged organists finally decided to call it quits for the night. These guys, my suite mates, I still count as friends to this day. We keep up with each other via Facebook (yes, we’re THAT old), and catch up over Messenger occasionally. Additionally, two fellow POE Alumni went on to attend the University of Kansas, same as myself. We went from POE colleagues to being collegiate colleagues and friends. These long-term connections are a blessing, a source of wisdom and encouragement, and a testimony to the success of POEs, namely the 2015 Wichita POE.

The 2015 Wichita POE was my first experience playing multiple organs with a variety of stoplists, sounds, features, and physiologies. This was monumental in my growing passion for the organ, especially in developing that oh-so-tricky skill of “registration.” It is vital to take this time and explore how the stops and sounds interact, learn how to “test” an instrument, and begin registering on you own. The very first registration I made at the POE was abysmal. 4’ Principal, Flute, 2’, all the mixtures I could find. ( VERY BAD registration). “Something bright and twinkly” I thought to myself. Luckily, there was an organist there to help me sort out exactly what I really meant to pull. Throughout the week, and through various (constant) conversations about stops and organs, and through a plethora of experimenting, I began improving on my registration skills. Not to mention technical gains in keyboard dexterity, hymn playing, and improvising.

The POE will be/has been a wonderful opportunity for many young organists, including myself and the reader. Take this time and make the most of it. Take the memories and treasure them. Take the connections and nurture them. Take the blessings and give thanks for them. As a POE alum, I have continued to participate as a chaperone and as a coordinator for two separate POEs. Every POE is a great time to learn, grow, and discover, but never forget to practice humility. These people are your colleagues, and will help you throughout your whole life, if you let them.

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