SALSA—Society of Awesome Latter-day Saint Accompanists
If you’re thinking that organists are just a bunch of old, boring people, you need to meet Skylie. She is young and talented, and while quite passionate about music in general you should see her eyes light up when she talks about playing the organ. Her enthusiasm is delightfully contagious!
When I spoke with Skylie (who happens to be my daughter’s husband’s brother’s wife’s sister…got that?) about her musical beginnings, she told me that she has always enjoyed music and the indescribable feeling she gets while playing or listening to different pieces. In her words, “Music is probably the most important thing in my life other than my family.”
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What was the first musical calling you received? How was that experience? I was called to be my ward’s choir accompanist. It was around November, or close to the beginning of December, so the choir was getting ready for the big musical number for Christmas. At first I felt a little overwhelmed with everything because the choir conductor chose harder pieces and I was feeling a little stressed about school. With a lot of faith and bombarding the heavens with my prayers, I was able to get through the Christmas season. After that, it has been one blessing after another with my piano playing. Couldn’t have accomplished what I do today without the Lord.
How long have you been playing the organ? Why did you start? I’ve been playing the piano since I was about five. I didn’t start playing the organ until I was a junior in high school (about a year and a half ago). We had an organ in my home because we were blessed on getting one for free. For a time my brothers had taken lessons, but when they moved out the organ sort of just sat there in our home.
One time when I was practicing the piano at the church my mom said I could play the organ if I wanted for a bit. Of course I had no idea how to play the organ, but I fiddled around with different stops and pressed the pedals to hear the low notes. It wasn’t until I had set the 32′ stop on the church organ and pressed down on the pedal did I really feel something different. I felt the power of playing such a low note on an instrument. It vibrated through me, I guess is how I could explain it. After that, I started to take lessons and have been playing for a while now.
Do you play any other instruments? If so, which instrument do you prefer? I play the piano and also the clarinet. I’ve been playing the piano longer so I probably prefer it over the other. It’s not because I don’t like the clarinet, but the piano is something that I have a little more freedom in playing.
What is your favorite hymn? I don’t know if I just have one favorite hymn, but probably my top three are If You Could Hie to Kolob, Abide with me; ‘Tis Eventide and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.
What is your favorite prelude or postlude piece? Well, I don’t know if I really have a favorite piece. Anything that is moving and sets the tone.
What sort of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I like to draw mythical creatures, read fantasy and sci-fi, and write stories.
Is there anything else you would like to share about you or your experience as an organist? I guess I can only say that I’m very glad that I play the organ. It’s such an awesome and powerful instrument. Yes, you can play hymns but there are other amazing pieces out there for the organ. Playing the organ has opened up my mind to how incredible the organ is and that it’s something other than a church instrument. (Also you can play Hall of the Mountain King during Halloween with the volume way up!)