Photo Credit: Lauren Benesh

Perhaps in response to the stress or speed of modern times I have often seen a certain beauty in the monastic life; monks quietly doing Godʼs work in the most beautiful and awe inspiring structures ever built. A simple yet purposeful existence. This clarity and focus often evades us in our busy lives.

My study of music has taken me to many different locations across the continents perhaps most importantly, Hawaiʼi. While earning a degree in piano performance from the University of Hawaiʼi, I worked as organ scholar at the Episcopal Cathedral. There I found an enormous symphonic organ capable of grand expression and timbral blending. Between my classes at the university and work at the cathedral, I would often only have time to practice the organ at night.

This atmosphere left a great impression on me. There was no sunlight igniting the stained glass, no weddings, and no street sounds- just darkness, quiet, and peace. It was a view of the cathedral most parishioners never witnessed. The still of the night gave me a glimpse of the clarity experienced by those who lead a simpler life. As I toiled away in that vast darkened space I felt a connection to the daily rites of monks and to the long history of church musicians before me, who quietly,
and sometimes not so quietly did the organistʼs work.

​- Yuri McCoy