AUGUST 12, 2010

Benefit concert  Aug. 22 for young musician, Meredith Oatman-Thompson

   The Pullman-Moscow Chapter of the American Guild of organists will host a benefit concert at 3 p. m. Sunday, August 22 for a remarkable organist, 14-year-old Meredith Oatman-Thompson of Orofino. The concert will be held at the Lewiston United Methodist Church at 1906 Broadview Dr. in Lewiston.

   Meredith will be entering Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan in a freshman class of 30 carefully selected young musicians from around the world.

   She attended school in Orofino, is the daughter of Todd and Susan Thompson and the granddaughter of Marion Thompson formerly of Orofino currently of Coeur d’ Alene. Meredith is headed for Interlochen not Interlochen Switzerland, but the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in upstate Michigan – one of the nation’s foremost schools for the arts. She plays the electric and pipe organ and wants to pursue a career as a professional musician.

   Interlochen has awarded Meredith a generous scholarship but her family needs help in covering the remaining costs of attending a boarding school so far away. The scholarship pays 80 percent.

   Meredith studied piano with Kay Kirkpatrick as her instructor in Orofino, and has accompanied Orofino Junior Choir, under the direction of Jan Holzer. She accompanied six competitive music festivals and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival with the choir. She plays piano and organ for the Orofino Methodist Church.

Her ideal

   Johann Sebastian Bach, besides being a preeminent composer, was an organist, harpsichordist, and violist. Meredith loves Bach’s music, so she wanted to play his works as he did – on the organ. Her parents were able to purchase an old Wurlitzer on eBay for $25, which started her off playing the organ.

   She studied guitar with Morgan Zearlott and conducted her own rock band. She studied organ with Thomas Schumacher in Lewiston after which she began playing for church services in Orofino, Lewiston and Moscow.

   Meridith had to study the pipe organ in Lewiston as her home town of Orofino has no pipe organ.         

   By 2009-2010, Meredith had participated in three performances on the organ at the Lewiston Seventh Day Adventist Church, including music by Giovanni Gabrielli and J.S. Bach with the Fair Winds Brass quintet led by Dr. David Wilkinson. She has performed pieces by Kabelevski, Kuhlau, Khatchaturian, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Chopin. She won first place in the Terry Jordan Memorial Organ Competition, two years in a row, as the youngest competitor.

   The benefit concert will feature AGO members performing on the pipe organ. If you are unable to attend and wish to support this young musician in her quest for excellence and to further her studies, donations are being accepted at a fund set up at AmericanWest Bank. Persons may make contributions to the Meredith Thompson fund, AmericanWest Bank Orofino Branch, 100 Main Street, P. O. Box 2258 Orofino, Idaho 83544.

   Meredith has earned this opportunity through self-disciple and hard work. She has been blessed with talent and a love of classical and sacred music.