Teens Encounter the King of Instruments

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Earlier this month, 21 teens had a chance to play and see the inner workings of several organs. It was part of the Pipe Organ Encounter held at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.

Pipe Organ Encounters are organized by the American Guild of Organists (AGO) to help introduce students ages 13 to 18 to the organ, long known as the “king of instruments.”

John MacInnis is assistant professor of music at Dordt College. He said that David Roossien, a member of the local community, gave a donation to Dordt to host this event for the South Dakota chapter of the AGO.

Students toured area Christian Reformed churches to play the organs, heard guest lecturers, and visited local businesses related to organs. They also toured the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota and the J.F. Nordlie Company in Sioux Falls, where they saw how organs are planned and built.

Instructors gave recitals in the evenings and students gave a recital on the last day of the event.

MacInnis has great enthusiasm for this year’s Pipe Organ Encounter as well as for future events. “Our hope is that our students, the next generation of organists, will gain new skills, inspiration, and new friendships,” he said. “We want them to walk away with a deep appreciation for the creative potential offered by the organ as they begin lifetimes of ministry in music and musical enjoyment.”

He continued, “The organ has supported and inspired Christian worship for over 1,000 years. The organ has well served the church all these years, and it will continue to serve us well for years to come.”

About the Author

Kyle Hoogendoorn is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Rock Valley, Iowa.

See comments (1)


A finely-crafted and informative article, Kyle. Kudos to you for perceiving what so many other evangelicals do not. The next generation of music ministers need to experience both the magic and the mystique of pipe organs. We need to keep in touch with our spiritual heritage, lest we lose our moorings (which I greatly fear has already happened). These majestic instruments express continuity with our rich musical roots, as Professor MacInnis astutely observed in the article. Recently I visited Meadowlands Christian Reform Church in Ancaster, Ontario. The music director there suggested that I check out the Talbot Street Christian Reformed Church in London, where I currently reside. Whoa Nelly. Did I ever get more than I bargained for! Talbot Street Church's music ministry is unlike any I have ever seen: It incorporates both a modern ensemble AND a pipe organ! One Sunday morning, at the end of the final worship song, the organist crescendoed simultaneously with the lead guitarist, who sustained a chunky power chord throughout the finale. It was electrifying! The hair went up on the back of my neck! Talbot Street Church is living proof that a 'modern ensemble' and a traditional pipe organ can be integrated in a most compellingly manner into a 'modern' worship service. The one needn't be championed at the expense of the other. Contemplatively, PhiL {'•_•'}