Organ Study at St. Olaf
The organ department at St. Olaf College is one of the largest undergraduate organ departments in the country. The program has maintained a stable enrollment over the past quarter-century. Graduates have gone on to careers as church musicians and organ professors, and have won national awards in performance and improvisation. Students who wish to major in music with organ as their primary instrument have the three degree options described below. A weekly studio class for all organ students (regardless of major) is led jointly by James Bobb and Dr. Catherine Rodland. There are also many opportunities to travel to the Twin Cities where organ students participate in masterclasses and hear rectials on the many fine instruments found in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Bachelor of Music in Church Music: Organ Emphasis
Church Music study at St. Olaf attempts to balance an examination of the history of music in the church with an exposure to techniques for the practicing church musician. In this context, the student is encouraged to develop a clear understanding of the role of music in the life of the local congregation. In addition to core music coursework and weekly private lessons, all Church Music majors participate in the church music practicum, and take a three-course sequence of choral conducting in which the final semester requires the student to work with their own lab choir. Church Music majors participate in one of the five auditioned choirs on campus, and have the option to participate in a variety of other ensembles, including orchestra, band, and handbells, and present the same required recitals as all Bachelor of Music majors.
The Church Music Organ curriculum includes courses which explore vocational and practical dimensions of being a church musician while pursuing a rigorous course of organ studies. The organ major focuses upon the special skills an organist needs to learn in order to lead worship from the organ (such as improvisation) and as a conductor. The daily chapel services and Sunday worship services serve as a laboratory for St. Olaf organ and church music students, giving organists the opportunity to observe and evaluate their peers.
Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance
The organ performance major offers a comprehensive and in-depth study of the performance practices of the organ. This program is structured as a typical performance major to include the core music curriculum (music theory, aural skills, music history,) private lessons, pedagogy, and recital requirements. The organ performance major differs from the church music major primarily in that it does not require the church music practicum or conducting courses.
Bachelor of Arts in Music
This degree option provides a solid foundation in core music courses, combined with a broad-based general education curriculum, central to the philosophies of a liberal arts education. The Bachelor of Arts in music also allows for the possibility of completing a double major within four years.
James E. Bobb
Assistant Professor of Organ and Church Music
Minister of Music to the Student Congregation
Conductor of the St. Olaf Cantorei
James E. Bobb joins the St Olaf faculty with more than 20 years’ experience directing church music in Lutheran and United Church of Christ congregations. Bobb holds performer’s certificates and M.M. degrees and in organ and harpsichord performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music where his teachers included Russell Saunders and David Craighead in organ and Arthur Haas in harpsichord. His undergraduate work was at Capital University where his teachers were Janet Linker in organ and Frank Hussey in piano.
As the Minister of Music at First Congregational Church, Columbus, Ohio from 2009–12, Bobb presided over a three-manual 1972 Rudolph von Becherath organ of 73 ranks, a four-manual 1931 W. W. Kimball organ of 66 ranks, four parish ensembles and two concert series. He also taught organ and organ literature at Capital University in Columbus. For fifteen years prior to that, Bobb served the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word in Rochester New York. There he led parish ensembles of all ages, conducted the St. John Passion and other works by Bach, Buxtehude, Schütz, Gabrieli, Purcell, and Telemann, and led the choir on a tour of Sweden. Also in Rochester, he was director of the Rochester Bach Festival, an instructor in Sacred Music at the Eastman School of Music, Adjunct Professor of organ at Nazareth College, and a chapter dean of the American Guild of Organists.
At the harpsichord, Bobb has performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Manhattan, Boston, Rochester, and Baltimore. He has appeared as organ and harpsichord soloist, conductor, and continuo player with The Publick Musick and the Rochester Bach Festival. With The Publick Musick, he had appeared in New York, Indiana, Maine, and Germany, and has recorded music of Telemann and Vivaldi. Bobb has also enjoyed leading hymn festivals in Ohio, New York, Georgia, and Oklahoma.
Artist in Residence — Theory and Organ
Catherine Rodland, whose playing has been described as “transcendent” (The American Organist), is Artist in Residence at St. Olaf College. She graduated cum laude with departmental distinction in organ performance from St. Olaf in 1987. She received both the MM and DMA from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where she was a student of Russell Saunders. At Eastman, Catherine received the prestigious Performer’s Certificate and the Ann Anway Award for excellence in organ performance. She is a prizewinner in several competitions including the 1994 and 1998 American Guild of Organists Young Artists Competition, the 1994 Calgary International Organ Competition, and the 1988 International Organ Competition at the University of Michigan for which she received first prize. She concertizes extensively throughout the United States and Canada.
At St. Olaf Catherine teaches a full studio of organ students as well as music theory and ear training classes. She performs regularly at St. Olaf, in 2007 dedicating the new Holtkamp organ in Boe Memorial Chapel, and performing as a featured soloist with the St. Olaf Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band. These performances were released as CDs through St. Olaf Records. In 2010 Catherine released two CDs: “Dedication”, and “American Weavings”, the latter recorded in Boe Chapel at St. Olaf College with violist and duo partner Carol Rodland. The Rodland Duo is managed by Concert Artists Cooperative.
Dr. (Mr.) Lynn Trapp holds a distinguished career as concert organist, pianist, conductor, composer and liturgist. Through his many concert appearances, publications, awards, and clinician work he is highly respected as leader with a national and international reputation.
As concert organist he is an active recitalist and has performed for churches, cathedrals, colleges and universities in many major cities of the U.S and Europe including regional and national conventions of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and the American Guild of Organists. His many organ performance venues include Washington National Cathedral and National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City, Notre Dame Cathedral and St.-Germain des Pres in Paris, France, St. Paul Cathedral in London. He has performed as soloist with Minnesota Sinfonia and Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in Minneapolis. In recent years he has joined with reputable concert pianist Andrew Staupe to perform organ and piano duet concerts especially featuring piano concertos with organ as orchestra.
He is heard on three CD recordings of the Liturgical Organist Consortium released by WLP, The Sacred Legacy of Paris (winning the national Golden Ear Award presented by Audio Sound, America’s premiere audiophile publication) Divinum Mysterium, and Chant Mosaic. His performances have been heard on the nationally-known radio program,Pipedreams. In 2006 he released the premiere recording of the Lively-Fulcher pipe organ Recital in the City at St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis. He produced Christmas on Grand in St. Paul, MN, a cd recording of masterful piano improvisations.
Trapp has conducted choirs featured at conventions of AGO, ACDA, and NPM. He has directed numerous choral pilgrimages, performances and familiarization tours for directors in Italy (including Papal Mass at the Vatican) Holy Land, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey and Greece under the auspices of Peter’s Way Tours, New York. In 2007, he premiered as conductor at Carnegie Hall, NYC, conducting the New England Symphonic Ensemble and chorus in Te Deum by Otto Olsson.
A lengthy list of career engagements includes serving as co-conductor and organist of the 700 member choir for the internationally televised Papal Mass of World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II in Denver, CO.; serving as composer in residence at the New York City Liturgical School of Music and St. Louis Cathedral, St. Louis, MO; Artistic Director of Cracovia Cantat, an international choral festival in Krakow, Poland.
For several years he directed music for the national liturgy conference at the University of Notre Dame. He was founder of annual church music conferences in Lawrence, KS and Cheyenne, WY, and for seven years served as co-director of the Conference on Music, Liturgy and the Arts at St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. He has served as instructor at North Central University in Minneapolis, and organ faculty for Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN in conjunction with St. Olaf College. He serves as faculty for the national program Music Ministry Alive at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN.
His keyboard and choral music is published by Oxford Univ. Press, World Library Publications, GIA Publications, Morning Star Music Publishers, Concordia, Selah Publishing Co. and Oregon Catholic Press. He has co-authored the book In Harmony With God; Choral Preparation and Prayer published by Liturgical Press. His commissions have been premiered in prestigious venues including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC and by professional ensembles such as the Kansas City Chorale.
As a student he was the recipient of many academic awards including the National Presser Scholarship and the outstanding student award of Pi Kappa Lambda honor society by unanimous vote of the faculty. He won first place in the national organ playing competition of Ottumwa, Iowa and several other midwest competitions. He is the recipient of the Spirit and Truth Award from the Center for Pastoral Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame recognizing his outstanding work in music and liturgy. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Perryville High School, his alma mater.
He received the BMus degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he studied organ with Marianne Webb, then spent a semester of private study with Catharine Crozier in CA. Awarded a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, he studied organ with Craig Cramer and earned the MMus/Liturgy degree, then began doctoral work in organ at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY with the late Russell Saunders. Lynn completed the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Kansas where he studied organ with James Higdon and Michael Bauer. He presented his doctoral project, The Legacy of André Marchal in recital and lecture at St.-Germain des Pres in Paris, France.
Lynn is principal Artistic Director for the Marianne Webb and David Bateman Distinguished Organ Recital Series endowed in perpetuity at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he hosts the annual recital in Shryock Auditorium, and works with a team of internationally known artists.
Since 1996, Dr. Trapp has served as Director of Worship & Music, Organist/Pianist at St. Olaf Catholic Church www.saintolaf.org where he directs an extensive worship and music department with choral & liturgical ministry, concert series, and radio and television ministry. In 2001 he directed the installation of the new 67 rank Lively-Fulcher pipe organ at St. Olaf Church. In 2012 he founded the Conference on Worship, Music and Homiletics at St. Olaf Church. He supervises an internship in music and liturgy for a college level student as part of the worship and music program.
He is one of five members of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and chapter director of Twin Cities Chapter of NPM.
In 2011 his archives were established in perpetuity at the Hesburgh Library, University of Notre Dame.