ESTEVAN — St. Paul's United Church hosted Sandra Young Tangjerd's organ dedication recital on Sept. 25.
Young Tangjerd performed and demonstrated the wide capabilities of the recently-installed new organ.
A native of Estevan, Young Tangjerd has a bachelor of music from the University of Manitoba, a master of musicology from the University of Western Ontario and a performance diploma from the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt, Germany. She maintains a private studio in London, Ont., where she teaches piano, organ and theory.
She is also an adjudicator and clinician, along with being a practical and theoretical examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music.
Young Tangjerd is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association, Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, Royal Canadian College of Organists and currently serves as the RCCO regional representative for SW Ontario.
She was born and raised in Estevan, and back in the day was part of "a Young family that lived on Young Street", but she hasn't been to the Energy City for about 11 years. She still has family in the Estevan area, and she gets to see them on regular basis, just not in Estevan. So she was glad to come home when an opportunity came up.
"Shirley Andrist has more or less retired from the position and she's been doing the job as the organist since 1957, for 65 years. That's remarkable. And she was my first organ teacher," Young Tangjerd went on to explain. "And this is a new organ for the church, so [Shirley] suggested that [the church] made sure they were bringing in somebody who was an actual organist … So, they got a hold of me and offered to come. And it was easy, since I have family here, my brother and his family, niece and a nephew and their children all live here."
Andrist’s dedication to music and arts in the community, in the province and beyond was celebrated during the event. St. Paul’s United Church also named their back parking lot Andrist Lane.
“This morning, we have the opportunity to dedicate our new organ to the glory of God and in recognition of Shirley Andrus, who has been an organist St. Paul's Church for 65 years,” said Don Kindopp during the opening.
The conversation about the recital started before COVID-19 hit, and then the event was postponed for two years until now. Young Tangjerd said she's been up for doing the recital in her hometown throughout this entire time.
She arrived in Estevan on Wednesday to practise with the instrument at St. Paul's United Church, and she also had a chance to visit with friends and family and explore the city, which she said has changed quite a bit.
"It's interesting to come back and see some of the people. It's been a long time since I've been back here," Young Tangjerd said. "There's a lot of things that have changed, I think for the good. [My friend and I] went out for lunch, and we were both admiring the cycling or the walking paths all over the area because we used to ride our bikes through this valley, and it was just pathways made by kids walking and riding their bikes on them. And if it rained, it was slippery mud and it wasn't much fun. Where now it's paved, and you can do that sort of thing."
While she had a chance to visit with some people, Young Tangjerd mainly used her time in Estevan to get ready for the recital.
"No two instruments in the world are alike. So, if you go into pipe organs, pipe organs are designed for the building that they're in, and for the budget of the church that's putting it in. So, they look at the building, they look at the shape, they look at where they're going to be putting the pipes and how the sound is going to be. And there are no two that have really identical stop lists. Which is the fun part about playing the organ because you go from one place to another, and you have to rethink what you are doing," Young Tangjerd explained.
Young Tangjerd praised the new organ, which like many contemporary instruments is run by a computer.
"All of the sounds who got on instruments like this, they're not an electronic sound, they're actually a sound that has been sampled or dubbed from some of the best pipe organs in the world," Young Tangjerd explained. "You are not going to see any pipes. So, what happens is these instruments are all unique, but they've brought together a whole bunch of sounds that come from a legitimate pipe organ. And the big thing about any organ, whether you're playing pipe organ, whether you're playing something like this, is the fact that you have to figure out what sounds you want. And so I could take any of the pieces that I'm doing, and I could put different sounds to it. And that would change the character of the piece."
For the Estevan recital, Young Tangjerd picked Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 547 by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as several smaller pieces, which would allow her to show guests the capabilities of the new organ.
"I haven't picked a big program in terms of huge works. I asked Shirley Andrist if she had any requests, and she said, she would like a piece by Bach. My son, who's also a musician, said to me, 'Well if it doesn't have Bach, it's not an organ recital.' So I have one big Bach piece," Young Tangjerd explained. "And the rest of them I picked because I wanted to be able to demonstrate the different kinds of sounds that you could get."
She also played Preludium by Nicolas Bruhns, from Preambulum supra by Johann Ludwig Krebs, from Cat Suite by Denis Bedard and from “Cookham Notebook” Op. 30 by Derek Haley. At the end, she performed a bonus piece, which she played solely by feet.
Since her arrival, she's been practising for the Sunday program, adding different colours of sounds to the pieces she's chosen for the recital.
"We [organ players] have the challenge of choosing the stops and choosing what kinds of sounds you're going to make, and how you're going to combine them. Is this a piece that should be a very big sound, should it be a soft sound, or should it be somewhere in between? Should it have low pitches, should it have high pitches, you have to figure that out. And sometimes the only way you do that is you sit down, and you put some on and you play it for a while and then you try something else, and you try something else," Young Tangjerd noted.
A plaque will be placed on the organ in memory of the Sunday event.