Last week, my former student, Joey Fala, texted me about wanting to share “some breaking news,” and was eager to phone me. When we finally did talk, he wanted to confirm some of the details of his engagement here, for the fortieth anniversary of the Beckerath organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. That will be Sunday, May 24th at 5:00 p.m.
But in addition he will be playing a week later in Maui on the Oberlinger organ at St. John’s Kula. You remember, that’s where I played a concert just about a year ago.
Then a few days later, he will be playing a concert at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, where there is a fine Dobson organ.
Then did I tell you that he will be playing on the national stage on June 30th at the Organ Historical Society convention in Springfield, MA? You can bet that I have bought my ticket and registered for the convention, June 28-July 3, 2015. Other artists at the OHS convention will include Christopher Houlihan and Nathan Laube, both of whom have played in Honolulu at the AGO’s Annual Organ Concerts, so Joey is up there with the big boys! Check out the schedule of artists here.
Then . . .
The National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists recently announced the largest bequest in AGO history, the $2.5 million gift forming the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Scholarship, “intended to support the education of talented young organists who will make significant contributions to the fields of organ playing and sacred music. They are expected to have existing talent and achievements in the field of organ playing and an expressed commitment post-graduation to teaching, performing, sacred music, or other serious endeavor with respect to the organ.” In addition to six scholars named for the 2014-15 academic year, two new annual scholarships will be awarded in 2015: 1)$7500 for one entering college freshman and 2) $15,000 for one entering first year graduate student. Guess who received the $15,000 award for the graduate division: Joey Fala!
Then . . .
He was notified that he was a finalist in the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition in Organ Playing. This scholarship is offered with the cooperation of the Syracuse Chapter. There are two scholarship awards, $3000 and $1000. The competition is April 11, 2015.
And . . .
the most exciting news of all, he has been accepted in the Yale School of Music master’s degree program in organ! Their website says: The organ program prepares students for careers as soloists, informed teachers, and church musicians, and for doctoral-level studies. The departmental seminar is devoted to a comprehensive survey of organ literature from all musical periods. In addition to individual coaching from the resident faculty, majors receive individual lessons from renowned visiting artists who come to Yale for one week each year. In recent years the visiting artists have included Daniel Roth, Marie-Claire Alain, Martin Haselböck, Peter Planyavsky, and Dame Gillian Weir.
Yes, after graduating in May with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Joey will be entering Yale for study with Thomas Murray (who was our houseguest twice!) and Martin Jean. At Yale, students have the opportunity to practice and perform on their Beckerath, Holtkamp, E. M. Skinner, Flentrop and Casavant organs.
Check out this article about billionaire couple, Stephen Adams and Denise Adams, who donated $100 million to the Yale School of Music, enabling the school to provide a full tuition award and fellowship to all students: “Music School profits from free tuition.”
Joey, we are all so unbelievably proud of you!