Asbury features…Joshua Bracken

Posted: February 28, 2012 by Shelby Weakley in Asbury features

When we hear the organ play in chapel, some may think it’s a lost art. Others, such as Joshua Bracken, deem it his calling.

Bracken began to play the organ when he was a junior in high school. He was first introduced to the organ when the organist at his church went to Paris, France (but he is originally from Tennessee.) With no previous experience with the organ, much less the piano, Bracken began to familiarize himself. “I started to mess around and I found it came easy to me,” said Bracken. “Well my parents invested in lessons for me and I took off.” Since then he has practiced and succeeded. After five years of playing and lessons, he has gotten a lot farther even without piano lessons, which the norm is for most people to have skill in piano first before organ.

Besides having fun, Bracken has said that the organ has taught him many things. “The main thing the organ has taught me is discipline. I have to manage my time very carefully so I can have time to practice and time for school.” Bracken usually practices 12 hours a week to keep his skills sharp and in tune. He has also learned a bit about friendships as well. “Since I spend my time alone, I have learned to really value my friendships outside of practice time.”

The skill and art of organ playing has taken Josh on many adventures. He has played in churches, some even across the world! “It gives me the opportunity to play many different organs and many different rooms. I think the coolest organ I have played on is in Austria.”  This experience has been a highlight of Bracken’s organist career. “I had the privilege to play an 111 year old organ!” Bracken has also played in Cincinnati, Chicago, Czech Republic and various other places.

Bracken has many goals about where playing the organ will take him in his future. “My goals, thus far, are to go to grad school in Wisconsin to get a Masters in church Music and [I’m] planning to be a minister of music,” he said. He also has a goal to play a very specific organ in the future. “One of my goals is to play the organ in Westminster Abbey in London, England,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite organs and by far my most favorite church building!”

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