December 15, 2016
Galilee hired Tordis Fahringer as our church accompanist on November 16, just in time for her to dive into the busy season of beautiful holiday music. Our Christmas Music Program is this Sunday, December 18, at the 9am and 11am worship services.
“I’m excited to be at Galilee!’ says Tordis, who had been working as an organist in Falls Church. “My friend, choir member Ann Kuo, told me about the position just as I was thinking that working locally would be a welcome change from a long commute. I am really happy to be here!”
“I like working with Jordan and the choir, especially. We’ve been hard at work rehearsing, but have had many laughs—it’s very enjoyable. I hope this mix of work and fun shines through at our Christmas program this Sunday. The choir is singing three beautiful anthems about Mary that tell a Christmas story, beginning with her being chosen to be the mother of Jesus.”
Tordis at the keyboard of a pipe organ.
Tordis is the daughter of Norwegian immigrants who moved to the US after the Second World War. She was raised in New Jersey with an older brother. “When I was young, we celebrated Christmas Eve with a special Norwegian dinner and rice pudding. After attending a Lutheran church service, we would open our gifts on Christmas Eve.”
“Once I had my own family, our holidays changed a bit. We moved our gift opening to Christmas proper, and then would just relax and spend the day together. I kept the rice pudding tradition, though! I have many fond memories of Christmas when I was young, or when the kids were young, but I especially cherish the first Christmas we had here in Virginia, which was the last Christmas my father was alive. My husband’s parents drove my parents down to celebrate with us, and my brother came up from Mississippi. It was a very special time.”
Tordis brings a good amount of experience to the keyboard at Galilee, since she began piano lessons when she was five and was the organist of her small Lutheran church in New Jersey from the age of twelve. She graduated from Douglass College at Rutgers University with a BA in Music and then worked in New York City, first at a Swedish clothing import firm, then at Bristol-Myers International on Park Avenue, all while serving as an organist for different denominations. “I worked in NYC for a dozen years, during which time I married Bob, who I had known since the age of eleven. We moved back to New Jersey, where our son Marc was born. When he was two, we moved to Virginia. Our daughter Alyssa was born in Leesburg.”
“In Virginia, while working and raising our kids, I began to sub as an organist, eventually taking a position at Community Lutheran Church in Sterling. I was there for 16 years and then moved to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Falls Church, where I played a lovely pipe organ for the next two years. Now I’m at Galilee!”
“Since I play mostly piano at Galilee, I am able to practice at home. Choosing music takes quite a bit of time and thought as I try to select something appropriate to the worship theme, with the hope that the music will touch someone in a meaningful way.”
“My favorite type of music is classical. I also enjoy jazz, as well as prog-rock like Yes (a group from the 70’s). I am the keyboard artist for the Reston Chorale, and before that, for the Master Singers of VA, so I also enjoy choral music. Choosing a favorite time of year in church is difficult, but I think I would choose Easter, because the hymns are so joyous.”
Aside from music, Tordis says that faith and family are important to her.
“One time when my faith was particularly important was when my mother began to have health issues at the age of 91 and needed to be in rehab. We were fortunate enough to have a bed open up close to home at the Johnson Center at Falcon’s Landing. I visited her every day and I am certain that God added extra hours to my days so that I could help care for her while still taking care of our home and the kids—and still have enough time to practice my music for church.”
These days, Tordis is thankful that both her children live close by. Now that her work is close, too, Tordis and her husband Bob can enjoy family life and days spent with a beagle named Beau, a cat named Katy, and a 23-year old cockatiel named Tweety.
We welcome Tordis Fahringer to the Galilee family. Please make her feel welcome when you see her!