New organ course at CSU Long Beach (CA) aims to train substitute church organists

Church Keyboard Center congratulates California State University, Long Beach on the purchase of an Inspire Classic two-manual organ for their newly established practice room.

According to Dr. Johannes Stosch, Director of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach, this is the first state-of-the-art practice organ for the campus.  It will support an organ course planned to launch in Spring 2023 targeted at pianists that provides an introduction to playing the organ for church services.  The offering is a response to the shortage of available substitute organists in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, an area with a population of over thirteen million and thousands of churches.

The Rodgers Inspire 227 organ features new high-definition sound samples of actual organ pipes that have the effect of playing a pipe organ.  Despite the acoustical treatment in the practice room (see photo), the state-of-the-art Convolution reverb system creates the effect of being in a much larger acoustical space.

The Insipre 227 organ from Rodgers was a perfect choice for our needs. It has enough volume to resemble a medium church acoustic without overpowering our practice room. The stop list affords students to be exposed to various tonal designs, e.g., German, French, English and American pipe organ stops. The various historic tunings available at a push of a button make this a perfect demonstration instrument for music theory classes as well. The students of the Bob Cole Conseravtory of Music will benefit from this instrument for years to come. Furthermore, this was a surprisingly affordable purchase for the campus. (Dr. Johannes M. Stosch)

Churches in the Southern California area often have difficulty finding substitute organists.  Although many of the members of the Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Orange County chapters of the American Guild of Organists—with a combined membership of over 450 professional organists—are available as substitute organists, the call for substitutes on any given weekend often exceeds the number of organists available.

The Rodgers Inspire Classic organ in the practice room at California State University Long Beach, Bob Cole Conservatory of Music

The Rodgers Inspire Classic organ in the practice room at California State University Long Beach, Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, Dr. Johannes Stosch, director

In addition to his position at CSU Long Beach, Dr. Stosch is Director of Music Ministry at St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church in Rancho Santa Margarita, where he plays a Rodgers hybrid pipe organ.  Dr. Stosch received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music.  He received two Master of Music degrees in orchestral conducting and organ performance from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati where he also won the coveted Strader Organ Competition.

CSU Long Beach joins a growing roster of colleges and universities in Southern California with instructional, practice, and chapel organs provided by Church Keyboard Center, the Global Organ Group representative for Southern and Central California: Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, CalPoly San Luis Obispo, California Lutheran University, Concordia University (Irvine), Cuesta College, El Camino Community College, La Sierra University, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, University of La Verne, Vanguard University, and Westmont College.

“Over the past ten years we’ve prioritized getting new state-of-the-art practice and instructional organs into universities and colleges to provide organ students with advanced features and authentic pipe organ sound that will inspire them to grow and develop their skills as organists,” said Nelson Dodge, Church Keyboard Center president.  “I’m very pleased to add Cal State Long Beach to our roster.”

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Entrance to the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, California State University Long Beach

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