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Our Organ & Organist

An article from the Gwinnett Daily Post on 2/18/14
By Deanna Allen
Photo courtesy of Brendan Sullivan

Hyoun Joo Song’s fingers flow lightly over two sets of keys, or manuals, as she plays a soft piece by Bach, “Wenn Wir in Höchsten Nöten Sein,” on a pipe organ.

The 42-year-old moves on to a louder piece, “Wur Nur Den Lieben Gott Lässt Walten,” also by Bach, deftly running her feet along a pedal board to create low notes. “That’s a pipe duster,” she laughed. “It dusts the pipes.”

The pipe organ, which is referred to as the king of instruments and has been around in some form for centuries, Song said, can be intimidating, with all its keys, buttons and pedals. The pipe organ at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian, where Song has played organ since 1991, is a hybrid organ, which combines real pipes with digital capabilities, as well as MIDI sounds. Song said the instrument is capable of producing more than 1,000 sounds.

“The organ itself has so many capacities of different sound, it’s almost as if conducting an orchestra from your organ pit right there,” the Duluth resident said. “When you have all those pipes going at one time, it’s really powerful.”

Song, who learned to play piano at the age of 7, started playing organ right out of high school and studied organ in college.

“Having been in church as long as I remember, I think kind of it was a natural thing to be interested in organ music,” Song said. “That’s a fancy instrument. It’s different from piano yet kind of similar, too.”

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