On my last day in New Haven, Joey Fala let me into the Woolsey Hall organ practice rooms and I was able to practice before leaving for Honolulu. I did make some progress although my left hand still is not back to normal and I’m thinking I’ll have to consult my doctor about it when I get home.
While in that practice room, I thought about all the experiences Joey is having here and thought how very fortunate he is! First of all, you can read from the University’s website that “A full tuition award and fellowship are made to all students who are admitted to the Yale School of Music, with the exception of those receiving awards from other agencies.
From the Yale website: In 2005, billionaire couple Stephen Adams ’59 and Denise Adams donated $100 million to the Yale School of Music, enabling the school to provide a full tuition award and fellowship to all students. ‘This generous gift will enhance the ability of the school to attract the world’s finest musicians and will support a number of important advances at the school,’ University President Richard Levin said at the time.”
I talked to Martin Jean, Joey’s organ teacher, who told me it was “highly unusual” that they would accept a student without a Bachelor’s degree in Music (try a degree in architecture!) and that only six students per year are accepted. That means there are six first-year students and six second-year students, making altogether 12 graduate organ students. There are no undergraduates in organ.
When I asked Joey what classes he is taking, he said that in addition to private organ lessons, he is taking voice lessons, harpsichord lessons, carillon lessons and classes in hearing (ear training), and liturgical improvisation — all the necessary components of becoming a well-rounded church musician! The graduate organ and divinity students will be going on a trip to the Baltics in June, including an extension just for organ students to see the organs in the area — all included in the Yale experience! How very lucky they are!
On our last night together, we had dinner with Janet Yieh, who is also a first year graduate organ student. She is from northern Virginia and grew up on the Virginia Theological Seminary campus where her father was on the faculty. She received her Bachelor’s degree in organ at Juilliard and studied with Paul Jacobs. While in New York City, she was the organ scholar at Trinity Wall Street. Wow, what a background!
Here in New Haven, Janet is the organ scholar to Walden Moore, organist and director of music at Trinity on the Green since 1984, and after dinner we walked over to the church. Walden happened to be there and we had the most delightful visit and listened to him demonstrate the Aeolian-Skinner organ in the church. The instrument is virtually untouched since the 1930s and is absolutely fabulous. You can read all about Walden here; he is Joey’s improvisation teacher. The church has a number of choirs, including a Boys Choir, Girls Choir and a mixed choir.
Enjoy the rest of these photos from Trinity on the Green. (I was most interested in the snow shovel by the front door. That’s something you never see in Honolulu!)