By JR on Friday, June 17, 2011
This story has great personal resonance for me. I first heard Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor in my Presbyterian church when I was aged 13 and that transformed music for me. Unlike the boy below, I had no thought that I could ever play it but I knew from that time on that Bach spoke to me musically like no other. You can hear the boy below play exactly that work via a link below. At 13 he does it very well. I hope you will watch and listen and see what power is given to his hands and feet: Truly an enormous privilege
When Tim Williams went to an Easter church service with his grandparents in the US as an eight-year-old, he heard a sound that changed his life. The uplifting strains of a pipe organ awakened his musical passion and he told parents Paul and Shelley that he must learn to play one.
The Williams family, who now live at Tewantin, supported his dream and, now 13, Tim has become the youngest recipient of the Walter Monz Organ Bursary at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. The $2500 prize goes towards lessons with acclaimed musician and mentor Christopher Wrench in Brisbane.
Tim, a member of Sunshine Beach State High's music excellence program, loves the "huge sound" and emotion evoked by the pipe organ.
See Tim playing Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach (YouTube video)
Opportunities are rare for professional organists here, but he hopes to one day play in churches in the instrument's heartland of Europe.
His teacher, Mr Wrench, said Tim had a rare gift for the pipe organ, one of the most physically challenging instruments to play. "It requires the use of both hands and feet and the other great challenge is that each organ is different and you have to work out how to get the best sounds," he said. "Tim has tremendous aptitude and passion for the organ and together these things bring success."
Tim comes from a musical family and his parents, both teachers and writers, play guitar. "He grew up with folk rock, but his love of classical music has inspired us. I've even taken up the violin," mum Shelley said.