Eric Holderman can tell you how hard it is to be an organist.
“Being a church/classical organist is a good career, but there are a great number of sacrifices an individual must make,” Holderman wrote.
Holderman, the organist at First United Methodist Church on Stockdale Highway, will perform at this week’s Lenten Recital Series.
That career required years of study; Holderman started at age 9.
“I decided to study the pipe organ at an early age as my Grandmother Holderman was an organist, and her sister was a professional organist with a master’s degree in organ performance,” Holderman wrote.
As for any musician, Holderman devoted his education to studying organ and piano, with all the usual costs, and then began working as a church organist, carrying on the family tradition. Then he learned about the other sacrifice that comes from being “on call.”
“There will be a great number of times that one cannot spend time with family due to services, weddings, funerals, etc.,” Holderman wrote. “I have been ‘on call’ for years, and I enjoy what I do.”
Holderman also admitted that despite being very busy, being a church organist does not always pay well, and often, as he does, an organist may have a second job to pay the bills.
One thing I have observed among the organists I have had the pleasure of knowing is that whatever the sacrifices, they all love to perform and share their music, and their knowledge with everyone. That is one of the motivating elements in the Lenten Recital Series, and its counterpart, the Advent Recital Series that takes place in December each year.
Holderman’s 30-minute recital will include organ arrangements of two hymns: “All Creatures of God and King” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” music by Bach and Handel, and the “Grand Chorus” by Theodre Dubois.