Below is a message from Kyle about his background, education, and interests as an organist. As a worship leader Kyle is especially interested in fostering vibrant, engaging congregational singing, utilizing the best of Christian hymnody and liturgical music from across the centuries.
It was a local television special, filmed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, WA when I was a small boy, that started me down the path toward studying organ. Happy Birthday, Bach celebrated Bach’s music and the Flentrop organ at St. Mark’s with drama and flair (and was nominated for a Peabody award). At the age of five, I was hooked.
About my education: After several years of childhood piano lessons I transitioned toward organ lessons, first with David Dahl, who taught for many years at Pacific Lutheran University, and then with the late Edward Hansen (past president of the American Guild of Organists) at the University of Puget Sound. I stayed with Dr. Hansen for my college career, receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Music degree as a scholarship recipient in organ as well as voice. The Master of Sacred Music program at Luther Seminary (in conjunction with St. Olaf College) was a natural fit for graduate work, where I studied organ with John Ferguson in addition to studies in voice, conducting, and composition.
As an organist my first love is corporate worship. I’ve been privileged to hold church music positions at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lakewood, WA; Lutheran Church of the Reformation in St. Louis Park, MN (now closed); and The First Lutheran Church of Boston, MA. After a few years subbing in the Tacoma area and appearing as an accompanist and soloist with Tacoma Youth Chorus and Northwest Repertory Singers, I returned to weekly organist responsibilities in 2015 at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bellevue, WA.
An example of recital performace: for the Third Fridays at Noon program at Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma, I put together a program with a couple of “greatest hits” by J.S. Bach and Buxtehude, plus seven chorale variations spanning 300 years for the hymn “If You But Trust in God to Guide You” (Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten); the stanzas were sung between variations with a new composite translation I prepared for this recital. And, of course, I wouldn’t be true to form as a worship-loving Lutheran without a chorale improvisation by the incomparable Paul Manz—this time, his jazzy setting of “How Brightly Beams the Morning Star” (Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern).