Congratulations to, Michael Gebhart, a sophomore organ performance major, who recently won first place (an award of $3,500) in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition, College/Young Professional Division. The competition, a part of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival, was held between September 7 and 9, 2012 at the First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, CT.
“Michael is a very dedicated and talented young man who is already distinguishing himself as a church musician and performer and he is just a second year undergraduate organ major,” said his teacher Professor Janette Fishell, who chairs the Jacobs School of Music’s Organ Department. “One thing that so impresses me is that Michael does fine academic work, excels in his applied studies, but he is also able to meet the demands of being the Organ Scholar at Christ Church (Episcopal) Cathedral in Indianapolis. Given all that he does, winning first place in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition’s Young Professional/College category is even more impressive. The award is a national launching pad for careers, carries a substantial monetary award, and also allows young organists who are beginning to build their performing careers to meet peers and play for distinguished judges. I know that Michael will represent this honor with the kind of professionalism that is embodied by the spirit of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival, of which the competition is a part.”
Gebhart began organ studies in high school while serving part-time as organist and choir director in several Rhode Island church music programs. From 2008 to 2009, he worked full-time as music director at Blessed Sacrament Church in Providence, RI.