Hannah Engwall, a senior Parish Music major from St. Petersburg, Florida, was recently awarded a $2,500 scholarship sponsored by the Bridgeport, Connecticut Chapter of The American Guild of Organists (AGO).
The prestigious M. Louise Miller-Paul E. Knox Scholarship, which began in 1998, is annually presented to one undergraduate student studying organ performance or church music at an American university, college or conservatory of music. In addition to the award, Engwall also received an invitation to perform her recital in Connecticut at a date when it is safe to do so and will be featured in an upcoming issue of The American Organist.
As in past competitions, individuals submitted their selections to a panel of four judges via video, with Engwall playing the Bach Prelude and Fugue in B Minor (BWV544), Olivier Messiaen’s Le Banquet Celeste, and her own settings of the hymn tune KING’S LYNN, (By All Your Saints in Warfare).
Upcoming president of CUW’s Organ Club this fall, Engwall will complete her Parish Music degree in three years next May. “I knew I wanted to go to Concordia because I wanted to experience a Lutheran education and be surrounded by people who share Christian ideals,” said Engwall. “I was attracted by the strong music program, and when I met the music faculty their friendliness and welcoming manner made me excited to join their program,” added Engwall, 19, who was homeschooled through high school.
“This is quite an accomplishment for someone her age,” said longtime music professor Dr. James Freese, who noted the decision to enter the competition was totally her initiative. “We’re all proud of Hannah and she’s using her gifts well in representing Concordia.”
Engwall, who is also an alto section leader for Concordia University Wisconsin’s touring choir, Kammerchor, didn’t start playing the organ until early 2015 despite having taken piano lessons since age 5. “My pastor was at our home for dinner a few months before I started to play and suggested I should think about being a church organist after I played a hymn on the piano,” Engwall said. Fast forward four years to last summer’s National Convention of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Tampa, Florida, where she served as assistant organist and was the opening service choir accompanist.
Engwall is associate organist at Bethel Lutheran Church, her home congregation in Clearwater, Florida.
The American Guild of Organists is a national association of academic, church and concert organists in the United States, chartered in 1896 in New York. Its membership today totals nearly 16,500 individuals.
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