Welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast #112!
Today's guest is an American organist Robert L. Morehead, CAGO. He is a native of Pittsburgh and is the Director of Music Ministries at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Vienna, Virginia.
Robert began his organ studies at the age of twelve in Germany under the instruction of Tassilo Schlenther. For twenty-five years, Robert has held Director of Music positions in German Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Evangelical Lutheran churches. Robert holds a Bachelor's of Music degree in Organ Performance from Malone University in Canton, Ohio. While at Malone, Robert received instruction from W. Robert Morrison, FAGO and also earned a piano teaching certificate.
Over the years, Robert has earned three organ certifications: the D-Schein from the Lutheran Church in Germany, the Service Playing certificate from the American Guild of Organists, and the Colleague certification from the American Guild of Organists. Robert is an eighteen-year member of the American Guild of Organists, and has served on the Executive Committee for the Lehigh Valley chapter. He continued his organ studies in Allentown, PA with Stephen C. Williams. Robert has served as Director of Music at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Red Hill, PA, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Kreidersville, PA, and as Contemporary Worship Coordinator at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Pennsburg, PA. In addition to managing his own piano studio in the Lehigh and Perkiomen valleys, he was the choral director of the Lehigh Valley Saengerbund in Allentown, PA.
In 2007, Robert received his Master's degree in Music History from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned a research award from the university for his work on the topics of Ralph Vaughan Williams' agnosticism. Robert's thesis was based on the jazz organ music of Dr. Joe Utterback of Rowayton, Connecticut. He also has played harpsichord and sung for the Renaissance and Early Music ensemble, Collegium Musicum, at West Chester. He also toured Germany performing organ concerts in Nochern, Wiesbaden-Bleidenstadt and Taunustein-Hahn.
In July 2009, Robert returned to the Pittsburgh area. Until May 2011, he was the Director of Worship and Music at Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA. Robert served as Director of Worship and Music at Beulah Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA from 2011-2016 leading a comprehensive music ministry that included nine music ensembles.
On August 1, 2016 Robert began his ministry at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Vienna, VA where he is the Director of Music Ministry /Organist and directs the Sanctuary Choir and Cross Generational Choir and plays with the Revelation Band. He also records and publishes on You Tube a “Hymn of the Week” series which includes history of a hymn from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship each week.
Robert also is the coordinator of his family’s Christmas Praise series: A Christmas benefit concert now in its 28th year of works from chant to modern which is performed at a different location every year during Christmas week.
Robert has also recorded four compact discs: The complete organ works of Antonin Dvořàk, from Mendelssohn to Morehead (various selections from Baroque to modern), Faith Musings (a recording of Christian songs) and Christmas Piano Improvisations (improvisations for Christmas performed on the piano).
In his free time, Robert is a free-lance recitalist (recently performing a recital series of organ works based on the book “Rediscovering Jesus” ) and composer performing throughout the United States and Germany. On October 8, 2009 (Robert's birthday), Robert's wife, Miranda, gave birth to their son, Kieren Micah. Just recently, Miranda gave birth to a daughter Lauryn Elora on July 8, 2016.
In this conversation, Robert shares his ideas about his organ practice, coordination between hands and feet, fingering, hymn of the week and challenging your listeners in his work as a church musician.
I was very glad to hear Robert has found my Organ Sight-Reading Master Course challenging but helpful and he talks about his experiences with this course at the end of the conversation.
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Robert's channel on YouTube with the hymns of the week:
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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