Thank you, Susan. You are a blessing! ありがとう、そしてご苦労さま。

Last Sunday, May 30th was the last day for Susan as the formal organist of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Kerrisdale, Vancouver. She has now officially retired.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been already 16 years since I first met Susan. 16 years ago I was an unhappy disillusioned business person, and wondering seriously if I had made a terrible career choice. I used to be intensely involved in my piano career until my early 30s when I was still living in Japan. However, moving to Canada, becoming a single mother to my 3 children, I needed to work in business in order to make a living.

16 years ago, I didn’t know anybody in the music field here in Vancouver. I didn’t know who to talk to. I felt like an outsider, rather lonely and somewhat lost. I knew I had to do something, yet I was reluctant to make any move forward. I must have had too big an ego. One day, my dear friend Ginger, encouraged me to contact Susan. After some time of more procrastination, I finally phoned Susan. At that moment, my life has changed.

I went to see Susan at the St. Mary’s Anglican Church. “Would you like to try pipe organ?” She said. I had never seen a pipe organ close up before. I had heard the recorded sounds, but never known how it worked. She took out music and let me play few lines.

Wow! How shocking it was. I don’t know how to describe it. The vibrations from the pipe organ came running through my body. It was a thrilling sense I had never experienced before. Instantly I was taken.

Ever since that day, I went to see Susan weekly, diligently for 15 years….until Covid regulations made it impossible. I dreamed of playing my favorite J. S. Bach pieces on this magnificent instrument……..

Pipe organ is an extremely difficult instrument. Not only hands and feet play notes independently of each other, but create sounds together on the multiple keyboards. Feet have another important role of controlling boxes which manage volumes. There are pistons that connect to each and every pipe. Each pipe has sounds of different instruments like strings, trumpet, oboe, flutes…. You have to choose sounds you want for each section, phrase, and voice, and assign pipes independently or by combinations. The pistons need to be pulled or pushed while hands and feet are busy playing the notes. It is just incredibly complicated. I often felt like my head was just about bursting.

Susan was always patient, sincere, enthusiastic, positive, and encouraging. Despite feeling overwhelmed, I often came home feeling happy and hopeful. I couldn’t wait to try out and practice again. It gave me such a joy.

As I got to know Susan I quickly realized her life as a church musician was extremely challenging. She had unbelievable schedules and responsibilities…..both at home and work. Even in difficult times, she never stopped being loving, caring, and giving to people around her. She was always available and willing to help.

Susan is my role model. I am so grateful that I got to know her. It was truly a blessing for me. Ginger, thank you so much for connecting me with Susan.

My sincere congratulations to you, Susan, for your long and successful career. Thank you for being my mentor for all these years. Please continue to be my mentor and my life-long friend.

5月30日日曜日はスーザンのSt. Mary’s のオルガニストとしての最後の日だった。St. Mary’s はバンクーバーのケリスデールにある大きな聖公会の教会だ。



St. Mary’s に行って初めてスーザンに会った。スーザンはいきなり「パイプオルガンを触ってみる?」と言った。私はレコードは聞いたことがあるもののパイプオルガンなるものを間近で見たことなどなかった。どんなふうに音を出すものやら全く検討もつかなかった。スーザンが楽譜を取り出して私はおそるおそる数行弾いてみた。