BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The Burman University Organ Concert Series is pleased to welcome Edmonton-based organist Wendy Nieuwenhuis to theSeventh Day Adventist Church stage on March 26th.
Nieuwenhuis, originally from Red Deer, said she is looking forward to returning to familiar grounds, eager to share the soundsof the unique instrument she loves so much.
The concert will take place at 3 p.m. and is free to attend.
“Coming back to Central Alberta after being away for many years is exciting, but being able to perform on the pipe organmakes it even better,” Nieuwenhuis said.
As a full-time music teacher, part-time lecturer at Kings University as well as church organist, her schedule is often busy.Nieuwenhuis said she tries to make time for a few performances each year and is looking forward to her upcoming show inLacombe.
“Performing isn’t what I do every day, but it’s a great way for me to stay in touch with my skills as a musician. Also, it’s fun togo through your repertoire and revisit songs I’ve performed in the past, because you approach it in a different way afteryou’ve left a piece for a couple of years,” she said.
“For me, performing keeps me learning and it gives me a chance to be challenged, and little bit nervous again. It keeps me onthe top of my game. It’s always great to have opportunities to be able to perform, especially solo concerts.”
Nieuwenhuis has an extensive musical background and has received numerous awards and scholarships for both academicand musical excellence. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in piano, as well as a Church Music diploma from the KingsUniversity.
After discovering the organ during her studies at Kings, Nieuwenhuis went on to study the organ at the University of Albertaunder a full scholarship,
Currently, she serves as the Royal Canadian College of Organists regional director for Alberta and Saskatchewan.
To state it plainly, Lacombians are in for a high-calibre performance this month.
“The organ, for a lot of people, can be really inaccessible. It is such a complicated instrument at times. I like to be able tobring it into a more accessible range for people. When you explain what you’re playing, when it was written and what it’sabout, it kind of brings it into a better context. That way, people aren’t just sitting and listening to music they don’t reallyunderstand,” Nieuwenhuis said.
Through her performance, she will explore a variety of sounds. She said she will include some new music, as well as somemore familiar organ pieces.
“I’ll be doing a bit of newer music at the beginning, and then playing some Bach, who is really the ‘master of organrepertoire’. I’ll be closing with one of my favourite organ pieces, Suite Gothique, which has some really nice tunes and a lot ofpeople will recognize it. It’ll be a fun, light-hearted way to end the concert.”
The concert will be an exciting and technically excellent demonstration of the pipe organ, an instrument unfamiliar to many.Nieuwenhuis said she is looking forward to the opportunity to share her love of the instrument and to bring her talents backto Central Alberta.
“I’m very much looking forward to the variety, and taking the program from start to finish,” she said.
“It is a bit of a homecoming for me. I have lots of friends and people I know in Central Alberta, so it will be fun to see themand be close to home again. I’m really looking forward to that aspect, as well.”