New York Organist Wins National Competition

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You might not expect to hear variations on Jesus Loves Me in a national organ competition, but that was one of the selections Benton Blasingame played when he won the first national Taylor Organ Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. The winner of competition, open to organists under age 23, is awarded $10,000 and a solo recital in Atlanta.

Benton Blasingame

Photo by Steve Tryon

Blasingame has been the organist for the Rochester Christian Reformed Church in Penfield, N.Y., for the past four years. A senior at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in organ and sacred music at Yale University.

The Taylor Organ Competition was established by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Blasingame “considered it a great privilege to be named the first-ever top prize winner of the Taylor Competition.” Chris Fluit, pastor of Rochester CRC, said he has been delighted to have Blasingame as part of their congregation. “It is a joy to be led by him in worship,” he said.

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It has been a joy to photograph Benton -- and listen to him -- these last four years. He was back at the organ pictured at the beginning of this month for his senior recital. Wow.
Photos -> http://pearwood.deviantart.com/gallery/36505566

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