I have accompanied many choirs and congregations in my career as a keyboardist. My main work with accompanying has mostly been for voice students. However, this semester, I have started accompanying Appalachian Chorale, Appalachian State's largest choir, consisting of both community members, as well as students from both Appalachian and Caldwell Community College. For this group, I accompany some of their pieces and also lead sectionals, when needed. I also do the same work as Organist and Accompanist at First United Methodist Church, Lenoir. As a performance major at Appalachian, I am required to take four semesters of accompanying and I have already learned so much from my organ professor, Dr. Joby Bell, and my accompanying professor, Dr. Junie Cho, about the art of accompanying a solo vocalist, a choir, or an instrumentalist. Together, they have taught me to pick out and play the most important notes, to first know the solo part that you are accompanying, to maintain grace under pressure, and smoothly lead the group or soloist while backing them up at the same time. I have taken this knowledge and applied all of it to my accompanying responsibilities at First UMC, since I am accompanying both children and adults.
In high school, I was the accompanist for our weekly masses that were held in the church that was conncected to our school, St. Andrew's Catholic Church, which is pictured here. I accompanied student singers for service music, special music, hymns, and songs that were used each week. This was a very demanding position and I would sometimes receive the music or practice with the vocalists at the last minute. Even though this position was definitely a difficult one to fulfill, I do know that it made me a better musician and prepared me for the demanding world of a college music major.