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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

First Presbyterian in Bedford Show Cases City's Largest Pipe Organ

BEDFORD - FEBRUARY 27, 2023 - On Sunday the First Presbyterian Church welcomed the public to hear some of the sounds from the largest organ in the city.


" We have this lovely instrument here, and we wanted the community to come out and listen to this organ. This also gives the IU students and opportunity to come out and perform in public. So I thought about doing the Lenten Series," said Jerry Mead, Instructor of music and organist.



"The organ is a Golden Wood rebuilt in 1993, which is one of the largest organs in Bedford. It has all these colors you can explore with and really add texture to music you can play on it," added Mead who is the only one that plays the organ.


" We do have four choir members who sing on every Sunday,"


Photo Shayla Van Hal performs at the Lenten Organ Recital last Sunday at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Bedford


Shayla Van Hal, was one of the Indiana University students who performed on Sunday. Van Hal being from a central Iowa in a small town called New Sharon.


" I had a lifelong passion for music. Van Hal started playing by ear at the age of four years of age. My parents noticed I was really into the music, started taking lessons with one teacher, for about ten years.. Then, started learning the organ with a cousin, both playing organ and piano for about 11 years now," said Shayla.



Shayla played pieces from a Hungarian composer who was student of a German composer Max Reger. " His style kind of romantic," and Shayla concluding with Rachal Laurin living composer from Canda and she writes a lot of French style music. So, a lot of the harmony she uses is considered the French contemporary style. The Berceuse is considered a Lullaby, with the kind of sound of rocking of a cradle. So, the Cloches is the kind of bell ringing like a chains ringing. So, like the bells ring in a church in fourths and it's a continuing running cycle,"


" My lifelong passion for music has been for myself to enjoy the instrument but also for the public to sit down and enjoy the music," concluded Shayla.


Photo: Laura Bottei prepares to bow following a performance on Sunday


Laura Bottei, was another organist who performed on Sunday. " I actually started music before I was ever even born. Because, my mom found like a little kinder class. My brother who is about 2 years older than me, the class designed for pregnant moms who had little kids. They like incorporating music in the class, while my mother was still pregnant with me. So I guess that is how you say I got started in music," said Bottiei.


Laura started taking piano lessons when she was five years of age. " I played the piano while growing being a part of choir and band. Then, started on the organ when I went into college,"



" I played two pieces from Chorale pieces from Johann Sebastin Bach ( 1685 -1750) and these based on seasons. The two I played today was for Lent, then I played one from the movement of French, from the French romantic era. My pieces being from the beginning of the French romantic 19th century era," stated Bottei. " Another piece was an Italian from Ottorino Respighi 20th Century composer was another chorale of Bach's,"


Photo: The audience converses with the performers following the Recital


There is couple more opportunities to hear other students from the Jacob School of Music. These dates include Sunday March 5th and Sunday March 26th at 4:00 pm.


The public is asked to join them for treats following the performances.


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