Jake Hargrove is a piano teacher who spent a total of 30 years focusing and mastering in the piano primarily. The music minister for Greater Refuge Apostolic Church only decided to transit into playing the organ after that. Initially, he started off with a few years of informal learning. After which, he went on to formal training through the past two years.

During the 1980s, Jake served in the U.S. Army for a couple of years. Just last year, he was awarded first place for best original music composition in a contest that was sponsored by the Veterans Affairs. He credits his talent and accomplishments today to Katie Smart, his childhood keyboarding mentor. The retired piano teacher was his next door neighbour when he was growing up in Henderson. “I was over at her house all the time, and she got me interested in playing the piano. Some of her students were friends of mine. It was from there I took up music in college,” Jake recalled.

He pursued a bachelor’s degree at Shaw University in speech pathology along with a concentration in music. Upon graduation, he decided to give music a chance, so he furthered his music training at Ohio State. “After some soul searching, I decided to go to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary instead,” Jake said, adding that he received a master’s degree in divinity.

Jake was also one of the featured musicians at the Spring Street Missionary Baptist Church’s annual Easter cantata earlier this year. He assisted choirs and fellow music leaders to present “I Know My Redeemer Lives” on April 1. Lately, his ministry focus has been on taking his dedication to music to a new level. His 2013 resolution includes continuing formal training to learn more about organ music. He is considering taking up university training as a means of achieving that goal. “I have been playing improvisational for quite a few years, but it has only been recently I have taken some formal training, in the past two years or so,” he explained.

So far, his formal training has provided him with a better understanding of what organ stops to pull in order to attain the desired sound effect. “The stops are pulled in order to determine what sound you’ll hear. These determine if you will have flute sounds or deeper stringed-instrument sounds. You can also range into reed sounds such as a trumpet,” he added. If you would like to read more about the story, you can do so here.

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