Today’s DYKYAGO comes from our very own region and our very own chapter. Becky Yoder, a current student at Duquesne University, has been so kind as to participate in our series. A special “Thank you!” goes out to her!
Thank you for being a part of the DYKYAGO series, Becky! Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
I am a rising junior at Duquesne University, studying with Dr. Ann Labounsky and majoring in Organ Performance. I am originally from Accokeek, MD, a suburb of Washington, D. C. Before coming to Duquesne, I studied the organ with Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry. In 2009, I won first place for the Washington D. C. Chapter American Guild of Organists/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists, and more recently I received the AGO Service Playing Certificate.
How did you become interested in organ at such an early age?
I became interested in the organ as a young teenager when my first piano teacher gave me a flyer for one of the AGO Pipe Organ Encounters. I went to the POE, and my organ teacher there, Dennis Elwell, encouraged me to start taking regular organ lessons after I went back home. I followed his advice, which led me to where I am today.
What made you decide to study Sacred Music in college?
I wanted to develop the musical talents God has given me for His glory and to bring others closer to Him.
Do you find any challenges in being a young organist?
Trying to find extra practice time during the academic year for competitions and recitals was really challenging for me.
Where do you like to go on vacation?
I really enjoyed traveling in Australia, although I doubt I will be going back there soon! In the U. S., I like to vacation in Ocean City, MD, with my family.
Do you like any other music outside of sacred music and organ?
I like classical music and some contemporary Christian rock.
How do you balance academic as well as musical responsibilities?
This is definitely challenging, but I try to prioritize and focus on whatever is most urgent at any particular time.
If you could meet a composer, dead or alive, who would it be and why? Where would you go?
I would be delighted to meet many different composers, but I would really like to meet Louis Vierne because I like many of his compositions, he was a great improviser, and I’ve heard that he was a charming person. I hope that we would go to Notre Dame in Paris, where I could talk with him about his music and possibly hear him improvise.
What do you see yourself doing as a career?
I hope to eventually get a good stable church job where I am able to promote good sacred music. In addition, I would like to perform recitals and teach organ lessons.
Thank you again, Becky, for your participation! If you are in the DC area, come to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to her Becky perform in their organ recital series on August 5th at 6 pm. Please see The National Shrine’s Website at www.nationalshrine.com for more information. We wish you the best of luck!