Today’s DYKYAGO features Jacob Temple, Director of Music Ministries at St. Juan Diego Parish (Sharpsburg PA). Jacob is currently a junior studying Sacred Music at Duquesne University.
What started your interest in organ as a kid?
As a child I took piano, voice, and trumpet lessons as well as sang in the children’s and adult choirs of my parish. There had always been the love of music in my life and one day in my sophomore year of high school my mother asked me if I would like to take organ lessons from the organist at our church. I figured that the organ was this beastly instrument that was really loud, so why not? Obviously I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Thanks Mom.
How did you decide to go to Duquesne for Organ?
When I was applying to schools the summer before Senior year, I thought I knew exactly where I was going to go. The previous summer I had attended the Canon Music Camp at Appalachian State University and studied with Joby Bell, the organ teacher there. After that camp my heart was set on going to Appalachian but then my mother went online to find other universities that had organ programs. Immediately Duquesne was her first choice because it is a Catholic school and she would be failing in her duties as a mother if she didn’t at least try to get me to go to a Catholic school, or at least somewhere with a close Catholic church. The nearest Catholic church by Appalachian State was at least 5 miles away and with no car, my mother was worried about my soul. I auditioned at 3 schools, was accepted to 4 schools, and ultimately decided to go to Duquesne because of the welcoming and friendly nature of the students, graduate assistant, and of course Dr. Labounsky.
If you weren’t an organist, what would you do for a living?
If I was not an organist, I would most likely be a physical trainer of some sorts. I played soccer and ultimate frisbee in high school and would lift weights every day after school for 2 hours. Fitness is an important aspect of life to me.
What is your favorite Bach piece?
I don’t really have a favorite Bach piece. I don’t go through all of Bach’s music to try and pick out one single piece that is really my favorite mostly because I generally don’t listen to Bach. When I listen to music, it is classic rock like Journey, Foreigner, and Steve Miller Band, or (blasphemy) pop, hip-hop, and rap.
Bach or Buxtehude?
Bach. The counterpoint is better.
Vierne or Widor?
Vierne. His “Berceuse” has an extra special meaning to me.
Duruflé or Tournemire?
Duruflé. I just can’t get over the “Ubi Caritas [from the Quatre Motets]”.
What is your favorite choral or orchestral work?
My favorite choral work is the Duruflé “Ubi Caritas” and my favorite orchestral work is probably “The Planets” by Holst.
If you got to live anywhere in the world where would it be?
If I got to live anywhere in the world I would probably choose my home in Virginia. There is nothing like the comfort of being in your own home with familiar faces and some good food and drink.
What are some of the challenges you face as a working organist?
Some challenges I face as a working organist are parishioners that complain a lot (I’m sure many people have this challenge) and having to deal with a merged parish. My parish is a merger of a German parish, Italian parish, and Polish parish. All three churches are within a few blocks of each other and each of them is still being used. I only play at two of them, the German and Italian churches, while another person plays the 60’s Allen in the Polish church. I hate saying this, but I would rather have that Allen than what is in the Italian church: a Yamaha Electone… It doesn’t even have a full pedal board and there are a lot of electrical problems with it as well. However, we are soon getting a small pipe organ so I won’t have to deal with the Yamaha pretty soon.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Affordable or not…
My favorite vacation that I have ever taken was probably the Duquesne Organ Department’s trip to France in the Summer of 2010. However, that is not quite affordable for a college student so I would have to say my favorite affordable vacation spot is down in Florida. I have some relatives there and we go at least every other year to different parts of the state and do a lot of fishing, boating, and other warm weather activities.
You are trying for the AAGO this year. What are some of the challenges as you prepare for it?
Some challenges I am having preparing for the AAGO exam are learning to transpose on the fly, improvisation, and the music history questions portion. Transposition is a skill that I think every organist should have. It is no easy task and I am still working hard at it with the help of Dr. Labounsky. She is also teaching me in the improvisation course all of the different forms that may be used on the exam. History has always been a weak point for me. The endless memorization of facts that I’ll only use a few times in life never really appealed to me. I’d much rather be practicing.
What do you do for fun?
There are many things that I do for fun such as play ultimate frisbee, soccer, hacky sack, football, and other sports with friends. I also like to read, watch movies, lift weights, listen to music, have jam sessions with friends, have a good laugh with friends, and all in all just enjoy life. I also love to sleep a lot.
Thank you for your participation in the series, Jacob! Stay tuned to hear more from Jacob as he will be sharing an article with us in the near future.