The past years of seeing Mass celebrated on the TV or the Internet have made it clear that there are two kinds of organists: some who inject life into their playing, and others who just play the hymns.
When someone who simply "plays the hymns" sees others bring them to life, it is like watching a CPR patient suddenly come back to life and take a gasp of fresh air. They think to themselves, "I could never do that."
Well, just maybe they are wrong.
No one starts out playing the organ knowing how to bring life into hymns--A hymnal’s notes are just guideposts for singers.
Although many people find it difficult to write music, there are some people who are able to unlock their creative potential and do so. These individuals are able to not only write music, but also break down the barrier that prevents many from putting their ideas on paper.
Anthony Giamanco is able to do just this; he notates his breaths of new life into old hymns, as if he’s washing a window that suddenly reveals everything in a new light. Now you, too, can bring your hymns to life.
Choose and listen to the exciting four performances below with the names of the performers, both students at the University of Michigan.