Organ Music on Friday Nights

Courtesy of Caitlin Tran

Courtesy of Caitlin Tran

Going to church on a Friday night is definitely an anomaly to my typical weekend routine. In fact, before this semester I never did go to church on a regular basis. However, things changed around for me when I started studying the pipe organ as one of my electives at the Thornton School of Music. Now I go every Tuesday morning to the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, where I am able to enjoy one of the most sophisticated and noble instruments I have ever heard. Even better, I get to learn how to play the organ.  

“Special” is the adjective I use to describe my lessons. To clarify, the greatness of my class does not necessarily stem from the instrument itself. My lessons are special because I am instructed by a very special musician, Cherry Rhodes. Miss Rhodes is an internationally acclaimed organist who has won numerous worldwide competitions, has performed as a soloist for various prominent orchestras, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and taught organ at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. If I were to list all of my teacher’s musical accomplishments, this article would be as long as the last Harry Potter book.

Nevertheless, on Friday, October 7th I was invited to my teacher’s organ concert. I arrived at the concert venue to find myself in a gorgeous cathedral, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The room seemed infinite, with ceilings that soared high above my head. I brought my sister along with me and we quietly sat down for the concert.

The program contained contemporary pieces, as most of the composers wrote during the 20th century. The pieces were incredible, but Miss Rhodes’s brilliant playing was what truly stole the show. The ease at which she played the intricate melodies was breathtaking and inspirational. For the two hours that I watched her concert, not a single worry about my messy dorm room, my impending midterms, or my suffocating deadlines seemed to bother me.

Not only am I lucky to have such a musician guide me in my own desire to learn the complexities behind the organ, but I am also fortunate to know such an impressive individual on a personal level. It amazes me how Miss Rhodes is able to positively influence the emotions of an entire auditorium, just by sharing her talent.

Conclusively, I am thrilled that I went to church on a Friday night. This concert reminded me of the power of music and the need to share it.