A Little Thunder from Will and Widor

This clip is the finale of Will’s concert last week. He said to his dad the other night, “I just love the organ.” You can’t give a passion to a son or daughter. It’s either in them, or it isn’t. The variety of talents God gives children is astonishing. When they develop those gifts, whatever they may be, they point back to the Creator.

Will’s Home – Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

Will’s back home from his first year at college. He had a wonderful year at Wheaton College Conservatory and made the Dean’s List. We are thrilled to have him home again, but he’s working hard this summer with a landscape company, so we’ll catch him when we can.  Here’s Will playing Toccata Festiva by Purvis which expresses the feeling of having our son home again. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

You Never Know…

Our 18-year-old son plays Allegro from Symphony No. 2 by Louis Vierne in this video. (The real exciting part starts at 5 minutes in!) You never know what interests your children will have. They are mystery packages. But if you listen to them and watch them carefully, they will often tell you what they want to pursue. Will studied violin and percussion and piano, but at age 15, he became intent on studying pipe organ. After getting blown off by several church organists who were apathetic, we discovered a true teacher as well as performer who had an interest in our son as a student. It went from there. Will is currently a student at Wheaton Conservatory. He is going to be doing another concert in June here in Milwaukee. I will share details later.

Will’s Organ Concert June 10, 2014 Gesu Church

Organist Gary McWithey wrote the following review of Will’s concert on June 10.

Last evening I had the privilege of attending the 2nd Tuesday Organ Concert series at Gesu Church on the Marquette campus in Milwaukee. Artist of the evening was young Will Schlueter. Having just graduated from high school and just turned 18, the talent and skill this young man exhibits is utterly amazing.

The program consisted of two movements from the Vierne Symphony #2, Bach’s “Wedge” prelude & fugue, the gorgeous Cantabile by Franck, three Chorale Improvisations on familiar hymn tunes by Paul Manz and the popular Toccata Festiva by Richard Purvis.

Will’s playing was clean, mature and exciting on every count. For a young man who has only studied organ for three years (!), his dedication and command of the instrument is staggering. I have heard the Gesu organ played by many organists. Will’s command and understanding of this massive instrument and live acoustic in the building was as good as any, and better than many.

Kudos to Will’s organ instructor, Sister Mary Jane Wagner, and to John Weissrock who acted as page turner and I’m sure offered his expertise at controlling the Big Schantz.
If you were not in attendance for this epic performance, shame on you! If you hear of Will playing in the area again, don’t miss it! I’m sure his playing will astound you, too.

Will’s Biggest Fan

When Will leaves for college this summer, his little sister and biggest fan is going to miss him terribly. Emmy adores “Bubba.” Will played at the Steinway Piano Gallery recital this afternoon, and Emmy was in the audience to add her support.

Here’s a little clip of Will playing part of his Beethoven Sonata.

Two Young Men and an Organ

WillRyanGesu1Yesterday afternoon, Will and his friend, Ryan Mueller, also a young organ student who met Will through the Hope Blog, got together in the loft at Gesu Church downtown and blessed my heart with their music. They both played some wonderful hymns like Ryan’s Crown Him with Many Crowns which was majestic. Will played (special request) Children of the Heavenly Father, Abide with Me, and Salvation Unto Us Has Come. I will be uploading Ryan’s wonderful playing of the hymn here shortly as it has already blessed many on my Facebook page. I also did a short interview with Ryan as to why he loves to play the pipe organ. I liked his answer!


Below is Will’s Vierne piece he is working on. It is quite long, so I just have a short clip. It is a wild, terrifying sort of piece that builds and builds. I didn’t capture the exciting opening measures, but you’ll get the gist. He is getting ready for a concert next month, so this is just a practice clip. Information on Will’s September concert is here at this link for anybody interested.

It was a real pleasure to see these two hardworking young men who desire to bring glory to God through music.

The Concert

Every once in a while the Lord sends a day that will stay in the memory bank for all happy reasons. It was a gorgeous day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with deep blue skies and a mild breeze. Today was Will’s long awaited organ concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. A nice crowd came out to hear him.

Will’s hard work and dedication paid off with a confident performance. As a parent, you watch in amazement as your children develop their God-given gifts. Today was one of those days. Emily was sitting on my lap which explains the rather jerky video I took of the concert finale, Acclamations by Langlais. The piece is powerful but dissonant. It ends, however, in triumph on a major chord. Will made that old church vibrate on the last notes.

Thank you to Will’s excellent organ teacher, Sr. Mary Jane Wagner, and Michael Batcho of St. John’s who organizes the Fine Arts program at the Cathedral. I want to personally thank Pastor Mark Knappe and his wife Diane who attended the concert today. (That’s Pastor in the photo below.) They have been such an encouragement to Will, embracing him like one of their own. Will served as fill-in organist for their church for the better part of a year. He not only was able to use his music for the Lord in corporate worship, but gained valuable experience.

It was a joyful day, and the beautiful music took my mind off the awful things going on in our world and placed it on God, the author of all that is good.

EmmyOrganSt.JohnsOrgan WillandPastor2 WillandPastorKnappe

Will and Music Friends at the Regional AGO Competition

The American Guild of Organists held their regional competition in Milwaukee at St. Paul’s Church last Saturday. Will worked hard for months and ended up learning much and earning a $100 prize. Playing alongside students from Eastman School of Music and Lawrence University was not a small thing for a junior in high school, but he had worked hard and played his best, he felt.

Will got to talk with Dr. John Behnke of Concordia University Mequon who was one of the judges, and who took time to encourage Will’s musical work. It was a wonderful day. You can read more and see the contestants’ photos by scrolling down a bit on the AGO website.

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