Ministry of Music
Mary Ellen Hanks, Director
Cashmere Presbyterian Church is blessed with people who love to sing, a great piano and a fine organ (and a fine tall pianist and organist)!
Our Wednesday evening choir practices are a rich time of singing and interplay between members. Worshiping God through our singing in the middle of the week is truly a blessing.
On Sundays, we try to have a mix of music, from modern to classical, so that all different tastes can be reached during worship services. However, the first requirement for choosing music is meaningful words--words to bring us closer to our Lord and to grow in our faith and understanding. New choir members are always welcome.
Ben became interested in music when he was in second grade with his piano lessons. He learned to play the organ at Whitworth College over two semesters. Over the years he had several music teachers in several cities and then graduated from Washington State University. During his thirty years of playing organ and piano, he has probably played at only five weddings and three funerals, due to the demand of his pharmacy operations.
Around 1991, he began playing the organ and piano at Cashmere Presbyterian Church. Ben says that he has played most of the hymns in our hymnal before and that he will usually play them through once before each service. He says that the mark of a good hymn is one that is written easily enough for the congregation to sing on sight, even if they haven’t heard it before. Occasionally, a hymn has a difficult part in it, but not very often. He runs through our Choir’s anthem a few times at home before Sunday’s service. But he says he spends the most time practicing the offertory hymn, as it tends to be more challenging and diverse (as we in the congregation have noticed!). Being our organist is a great fit for him as it allows flexible time for his full-time pharmacist job. His personally favorite hymn is “Because He Lives”. His iPod has a wide variety of favorite types of music - from Classical to Rock and Roll!
When asked what advice he might have for those looking to become an organist, he laughed. He said fewer and fewer people are learning to play the organ. The vast majority think only of organ music being used in wedding processionals and recessionals, and in funerals - it’s because it is the only time they hear it! A majority of churches have gone to piano, guitar, and song praise/team music. Fifty to sixty years ago, there were two full-time professors at Whitworth (Presbyterian) College. These days, one professor teaches Keyboard primarily and Organ Performance as needed.
VIDEO: "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul" sung during Advent by Larry, Pastor Chuck, Alan and Doug
Piano & Special Music
A few years ago, the Session formed a “Piano Committee” to find a great piano for the sanctuary.
• Makes beautiful music
• Is a joy to play
• Is a handsome piece of furniture
• Enhances the beauty of our sanctuary
• Is attractive for events such as weddings and recitals
They chose a vintage Steinway L (5’11” length) built in 1925. This piano has been owned by the same family for most of its life.