SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Brad Hall was tickling the ivories on the piano in the second grade and began his instruction in organ music with Wittenberg University Professor of Music Trudy Faber when he was a sophomore in high school. Now, as a senior studying for a bachelor of music in organ at Wittenberg, he is the recipient of a national scholarship for his mastery of the pipe organ.
Hall, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, is the sole winner of the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship for 2004. The $1,500 scholarship was established by Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minn., and is administered by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Hall joins past winners from such schools as St. Olaf College, Yale Institute of Sacred Music and The Juilliard School.
The annual scholarship was established to honor the contributions of both Paul and Ruth Manz to the congregation during their 37 years of service there. The award is intended to encourage organ students across the nation who are preparing for careers as church musicians.
News of Hall winning the award appears in a column called "Pipings" in this month's The American Organist, the national magazine of the American Guild of Organists with a circulation of 3,200.
"I was especially honored to receive this award when I saw the kind of company I'm in now as a recipient," Hall said. "The competition is a wonderful example of the passion of church music." Hall said he is drawn to the pipe organ for the "majesty, tone and variety of sound that can emanate from the instrument." He has always had music in his life. Hall played in Bellefontaine's First Lutheran Church handbell choir from the third grade through high school. A 2001 graduate of Bellefontaine High School, he was a member of the marching and pep bands. When he first began his college career, he was a member of the Wittenberg Choir and the Wittenberg Handbell Choir, and he played trombone.
"My grandmother and mom were also huge musical influences on me, as they both played the piano while I was growing up," he said.
Hall also credits Faber, his organ instructor for nearly seven years. "She focuses on the innerness of the music," he said. "She has taught me what it means to have your own interpretation of the piece you are playing.
"Professor Faber has a passion for music, especially for organ music, and her compassion for the students studying with her, I think, brings out the best in the student."
The scholarship competition required the applicants to submit a cassette tape or compact disc including a major prelude and fugue of J.S. Bach, a shorter romantic work from Vierne, Dupre, Langlais, Widor or Peeters, a short contemporary American work, a varied accompaniment of the hymn "When Morning Gilds the Skies," and an improvisation on the same hymn.
The president of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago praised Hall in the award announcement letter, writing, "I have listened with great pleasure to the CD you sent as part of your scholarship application. I am a lover of organ music and strongly affirm your gifts and encourage you to continue your ministry of music."
In many ways, Hall is not the typical college student. In addition to studying and rehearsals, he is married to Wittenberg alumna Andrea Schultz Hall, a graduate of the class of 2004. He is also the principal organist for Grace Lutheran Church in Springfield and after graduation, the son of Peggy and John Hall of Bellefontaine aspires to attend the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Faber said she is quite proud of Hall's accomplishments. "As a teacher, it has been a special delight to work with such a remarkable student," she said. "With Brad, I have seen a steadily escalating rise in the development, not only of his techniques, but also of his musicianship. His winning this prize is a stunning achievement for him and a great triumph for Wittenberg."
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
• Book-Delivering Prof Named Ohio Professor of the Year
• Senior Class Selects Livestrong President & CEO Doug Ulman As 2011 Commencement Speaker
•Communication Program Honored Nationally With Top Award
• Wittenberg University Art Students Finalists For Scholarship Award