Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Close Your Eyes and Listen

Click the video, but close your eyes as the music starts to play. Enjoy the this 2 1/2 minute of "Toccata on Hymn to Joy." After the piece concludes, open your eyes and replay the video.



The organist is Mark Thallander,  performing his Toccata on "Hymn to Joy" at the Church on the Cape in Cape Porpoise, Maine.

Mark Thallander was assistant organist at the Crystal Cathedral. Some years ago, Mark lost his left arm in an automobile accident. If anyone had a reason to give into hopelessness, he did. Instead, he uses what he still has and rearranges standard organ repertoire for one hand and two feet.

I share this video for three reasons. First, Mark visited our church one Sunday about six years ago. I have never forgotten the incredible technique I heard that day.

Secondly, Davonia and I have just returned from a vacation in Maine. On a Sunday morning, we visited the Cathedral of St. Luke, located in Portland, Maine. Much to our surprise, Mark Thallander was a guest that Sunday, playing both a prelude and postlude. We had an opportunity to talk with him at length following the service.The coincidence added a special touch to our visit both to that church and to the state in general.

Finally, if his technique on the organ is incredible, his story is even more incredible. If you or I had sustained the sort of injury he did, would it ever occur to us to try to continue a career so dependent upon the use of both hands?

When we look at the problems which we confront each day, how small they must appear in comparison. Perhaps we cannot become a nationally recognized artist. But, can we become better than we are?

There are other videos of Mark on YouTube as well. You can learn more about Mark and his foundation by going to www.markthallanderfoundation.org.
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