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Vivian Major Robinson concert offers a different approach, view

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Organist Robert Glick teaches, plays at the same time

By Nita Brown

The Vivian Major Robinson concert on Oct. 4 will be a first for Lancaster.

LearnTV will record the recital for playback and also provide the audience with an up-close look at organist Robert P. Glick via a viewing screen during the 2:30 p.m. concert that day at First Presbyterian Church.

Glick is associate professor of church music and organ at Erskine College and Theological Seminary,

This is a big change from a normal organ concert.

For perhaps the first time, you’ll get to see something other than the back of the organist’s head.

Johannes Tromp, performance coordinator for the Vivian Major Robinson Concert Series, said he met Glick through Roberta Major while researching musicians for the annual fall concert.

Roberta Major is the sister of the late Vivian Major Robinson. Roberta Major is also the former chairwoman of the department of music and retired professor emerita from Lander University in Greenwood.

“I am thankful to  Major for the introduction,” Tromp said. “I am delighted with the program proposed by professor Glick and am very much looking forward to the concert, which should delight all audiences.”

Although many have seen a pipe organ console and its panels of buttons (stops), many may never have seen or understood how those controls are arranged, why there are two keyboards and what the foot pedals do. Being the teacher Glick is, he said you will find out how it works at the concert.

Glick has planned the performance to showcase the organ’s versatility and to educate the audience about the instrument.

The program mixes works by familiar composers such as J.S. Bach and Franz J. Haydn with other selections chosen to demonstrate the “Four Families of Organ Stops,” and even includes a foot-pedal solo. In addition to information about the organ settings, Glick will include comments about composers and the selected music, as the program progresses.

“I planned the program so the audience could hear all the different sounds,” Glick said. “I think it will take the 'mumbo jumbo' out of how they are produced.

Dr. Brooks Kuykendall, chairman of the Erskine music department, said it isn’t unusual for Glick to use a teaching approach at his concerts.

“He wants his audience to understand not only the music, but also the performance, even the nuts-and-bolts of how an organ operates, how an organist manipulates it and how music works on the organ,” Kuykendall said.

 Glick also serves as organist and teaching pastor at Greenwood’s First Presbyterian Church.

He is an active, published composer and arranger of both organ and choir music, and has written a book, “With All Thy Mind: Worship That Honors the Way God Made Us.”

He has also been a feature artist on National Public Radio’s “Pipedreams.”

As a child growing up in a musically-oriented family in Lebanon, Pa, Glick and his sisters took piano lessons. His older sister played the organ for their local church.

When she was about to go off to college, the church needed to find a replacement. Glick volunteered, practiced, and became the new organist at the age of 13.

“I’m sure the church was very patient with me as I grew into it,” he said. “But I fell in love with the instrument and it’s been my passion ever since.”

Glick, 58, came to South Carolina in 1981 shortly after earning a masters degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

He was minister of music at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville  for seven years and joined the Erskine faculty in 1988.

A confirmed bachelor, Glick said he has many “children” (his students), and his world revolves around teaching.

“My students keep me young,” he said, laughing.

Kuykendall counts himself as one of those children.

“I was his student when I was in high school and college, and only returned to be his colleague about four years ago,” Kuykendall said.  “The students love Uncle Bob, particularly when the choir goes on tours. When I was his student, a group of us would invite ourselves over to his house to listen to music. He was always a gracious host.”

Although Glick’s passion is the organ, Kuykendall said he is also excellent teacher.

“He seeks to discern the root of the problem for each student and to help them find a solution that works,” Kuykendall said.

Cosponsored by the Vivian Major Robinson Endowment and Lancaster County Council of the Arts, the concert series is now in its 12th year.

Its purpose is to make a variety of performances available locally, and to promote understanding and appreciation of classical music.

Want to go?

WHAT: The 12th annual Vivian Major Robinson Fall Concert feturing organist Robert P. Glick

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4

WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 700 N. Main St., Lancaster

HOW MUCH: Free

INFORMATION: (803) 285-7451