By Tori Bachman-Johnson ‘12
Music-lovers from all over Georgetown know Glenna Metcalfe…either as an accompanist for the Georgetown Chorale Society…or Minister of Music at Faith Baptist Church…or music and choir teacher at Royal Spring Middle School.
On Sunday (Nov. 15) at 3 p.m., Metcalfe invites everyone – especially people from those segments of Scott County – to hear her in her element, playing the music she loves on the Osborne-Tilford Family Organ in John L. Hill Chapel. This concert is the last of five in this fall’s Stephen Tilford Memorial Concert Series at Georgetown College.
“The organ is my best thing,” she said, explaining that those who know her probably aren’t accustomed to hearing her play the type of music she will be playing during Sunday’s recital.
Metcalfe, who always learns all new music for recitals, began practicing her music for the program in June. Her busy schedule fulfilling many different roles in Georgetown makes it difficult to find practice time, but Metcalfe sneaks it in whenever she can. “A few nights ago I was practicing in the Chapel at midnight,” she said.
Metcalfe’s program consists of five pieces, including Sonata VI in G Major by her favorite composer, J. S. Bach. “My favorite Bach piece for organ always happens to be the one I’m working on at the moment,” she said. According to Metcalfe, the audience should enjoy the light and happy sonata, as well as Symphony No. 5, Opus 42 by Charles Marie Widor. This composition from the Romantic period often appeals to audiences, even if they are not familiar with classical music, Metcalfe said.
Metcalfe began playing organ in her hometown of Beaver Dam, Ky. As a sixth grader, she approached the organist at Beaver Dam Baptist Church, where her father was the minister. She told him that she would be interested in learning to play the organ, and he invited her to his house every Sunday to teach her. As she improved, he paid for her to take lessons at Brescia College in Owensboro and later in Indiana. While she was in high school, the organist had a stroke, and she took over for him at the church.
“I would not be playing the organ if he hadn’t done something about [my interest in organ] when I was young,” said Metcalfe.
Metcalfe, an ’85 graduate of Georgetown College, studied organ under Professor Danny Tilford, but didn’t always plan to make a career out of music. “I was an accounting major and wasn’t really interested in doing anything much with music…He talked me into majoring in music, and I was happy to do that – that was the right decision.”
Danny Tilford, now a Professor Emeritus and, is gratified Metcalfe took the path she did. “She’s one of the best talents I even taught on organ,” he said.
“Glenna is so gifted at registration – creating the sounds that are more appropriate for this (instrument),” said Tilford, the man who had this magnificent Johannus organ hand-crafted in the Netherlands to his specifications. “She plays flawlessly and clean.”
Metcalfe also met Danny’s son – the late Stephen Tilford (for whom this series is named) – while attending Georgetown, since they would both practice in the music building. They also attended the University of Louisville together, where they both had an apartment in the same house. Metcalfe received her Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance there.
Fifteen years ago, she and her family moved to Georgetown from Madisonville. Since around that time, she has been Minister of Music and an accompanist, though she only began teaching at Royal Spring four years ago.
Metcalfe has three daughters: Elizabeth, a freshman at Georgetown College; Emily, a freshman at Scott County High School; and Erin, a sixth grader at Royal Spring Middle School. Her husband Robert works at Toyota.
“Even though I’m classically trained, I’m also a lover of all kinds of music, and my children are like that, too.” The family all enjoys listening to classical music and jazz, as well as The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Regina Spektor.
“Robert is completely non-musical, but he loves music, especially jazz,” said Metcalfe. “He’s a very good supporter of me and what I do. I couldn’t do it without him.”
Elizabeth and Emily are both very musically talented, but Metcalfe doesn’t expect them to follow in her footsteps. “I think music is going to be a source of pleasure for them, rather than work for them. Music is important to them, but just as something that they enjoy.”
This fall’s Stephen Tilford Memorial Concert Series marks the fulfillment of the dreams of two generations of Music professors at Georgetown College – Dr. Daniel Tilford and his son, the late Dr. Stephen Tilford. The five free events have showcased the two recent, magnificent acquisitions – a Steinway Concert Grand Piano and a Johannus Organ – that bear the Tilford name.