Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Emerging Organist to Serve and Learn at Duke Chapel through National Organ Scholar Program

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Duke University Chapel and the American Guild of Organists (AGO) have selected Daniel Jacky, a senior at Oberlin College and Conservatory, for the inaugural AGO Organ Scholar Program.

As an organ scholar at Duke Chapel during the 2022–2023 academic year, Jacky will play the organ during services in the Chapel and at Duke Divinity School, assist with weekly choir rehearsals, and receive regular lessons and coaching in organ playing, conducting, and vocal techniques. He begins the position on August 1.

Jacky was a Stamps Scholar at Oberlin, majoring mathematics and organ performance, studying organ, conducting, and continuo and harpsichord. He currently serves as the director of music at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Amherst, Ohio, having previous interned at St. Peter’s Church (ELCA) in Manhattan. He performs frequently in ensembles and as a soloist, and is particularly interested in the cantatas of J. S. Bach.   

“Daniel distinguished himself with superb organ accompaniment and conducting skills.” said Christopher Jacobson, organist for Duke Chapel and Duke Divinity School. “We are thrilled to welcome him to Duke and excited for the year ahead of music making.”

The AGO Organ Scholar Program offers a promising musician a one-year, paid internship at a significant music ministry program in the United States.

“The AGO was striving to create a program that would make a skills-based investment in our young members and we couldn't think of a better host institution or young church musician to take the lead on this program,” said Jillian Gardner, councillor for young organists at the AGO.

At Duke Chapel, Jacky will learn from the Chapel Music staff and wider Duke campus.

“Through this collaboration with the AGO, Duke Chapel continues to contribute to the education of the next generation of church musicians, who are integral to maintaining the living traditions of sacred music both in the U.S. and abroad,” said Dr. Zebulon Highben, director of Chapel Music and an associate professor of the practice of church music at Duke Divinity School.

"I am so thrilled to join such a wonderful music staff in the fall,” Jacky said. “I am so very thankful for the AGO and Duke Chapel for offering such an amazing and enriching experience."

Having an organ scholar in 2022–23 at the Chapel will mark the resumption of Duke Chapel’s Organ Scholars program. It began in 2015 as an initiative to train members of the next generation of church musicians with practical, hands-on skills that are generally not able to be covered in academic degree programs for organists and choral directors.

The American Guild of Organists is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. The Guild serves approximately 275 chapters and 12,000 members throughout the United States and abroad.  
Located at the heart of campus, Duke Chapel is the moderator for Religious Life at the university, a vibrant center of ecumenical Christian worship, and a sanctuary for all people.