What a great honor it has been for me to come all the way from Hawaii and to hear how far my former student, Joey Fala, has come! When I told the bus driver why I was here in New Haven, he was absolutely amazed at my story. I myself am amazed at Joey and his courage in pursuing his dream. In spite of not having an undergraduate degree in music, here he is at Yale no less, in the graduate school of music in organ performance.
Here was the program:
Sonata No. 4 in Bb (Felix Mendelssohn)
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (J. S. Bach)
Trio Sonata No. 5 in C (J. S. Bach)
Sonata No. 3 (Paul Hindemith)
Première Fantasie, Deuxième Fantasie (Jehan Alain)
Fantasia and Fugue in G minor (J. S. Bach)
At the concert I met a friend of Joey’s, Gary Loughrey, whom Joey introduced as his “uncle,” because he has looked after Joey’s welfare since moving to the East Coast. Gary in fact drove Joey from Troy, NY and helped him move in to his studio apartment here in New Haven. Gary told me the first time he heard Joey play, he had the feeling that “Joey played with fire in his belly,” and I had to agree totally. I was especially blown away with Joey’s performance of the Trio Sonata, one of the most difficult types of music an organist can play, and he tossed it off with the greatest of ease and at a breathtaking tempo! It was absolutely exquisite!
And I especially liked his first movement of the Mendelssohn Sonata — he took us all on a thrill ride and it was so exciting! I had this feeling of coming full circle in that I played the Hindemith Sonata No. 3 on my graduate recital and the G-minor Fantasy and Fugue on my college senior recital. (That, of course, was the Stone Age.)
What must have been heartwarming to Joey was that he had a number of friends come from Troy, NY, where he had been in college. That tells you how much Joey is loved! I was glad to become reacquainted with Christian Lane, Joey’s mentor in Boston, who also came a long way. (Of course, I took the prize for coming the farthest!)
Afterwards I took Joey and Gary out to dinner at “Kitchen Zinc,” which Joey chose because of the stop with the same name on the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Honolulu organ! Actually, the food was excellent and we all enjoyed ourselves very much.
Tomorrow we’ll go on a tour of some of the Yale organs.