FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – President Paige Patterson, faculty and students set aside a chapel service to formally install professor Yoon-Mi Lim as the first Albert L. Travis Chair of Organ at Southwestern Seminary, Nov. 10.
Travis, distinguished professor emeritus of organ, praised the instrument’s ability to support and uplift parishioners during congregational singing, in addition to its aesthetic appeal.
“The organ is an instrument of praise and prayer,” said Travis, who served the School of Church Music from 1977-2008. “The primary purpose for this kind of instrument is to help us focus our attention on God, whether through a quiet prelude or through a joyful introduction to a hymn.”
During the service, Travis expressed thanks for the continual ministry of alumna Kathryn Sullivan Bowld, whose commitment to music ministry and scholarship made the chair in his name possible. Initially entering seminary to train for evangelistic service as a revival pianist, Bowld earned her degree in organ in 1933 and returned to achieve her Master of Music in conducting in 1988.
Travis himself was one of the first holders of the Bowld organ scholarship, established in 1977 and one of the many ways Bowld supported her alma mater and future generations of music students. She is also the namesake of the Bowld Music Library, built in 1992.
Patterson built upon this worship-leading emphasis for the organ during his exposition of 1 Chronicles 16:1-7, noting that church organists, as well as other ministers of music for the local church, are to use music to commemorate, to thank, and to praise God.
“For many years, the organ was the most complicated instrument ever built, of any kind, by human beings on the face of the earth. It was finally superseded, perhaps, by the complications of the telephone switchboard, but until then the most complicated single building on the face of the earth was the organ. Consequently, it is actually arguable (that) the ability to build an organ more exemplified the Imago Dei, the creative ability of being in the image of God, then anything else we had at our disposal.”
Lim expressed her appreciation for her new role as chair but chose to do so through music, performing the Fugue from “Prelude and Fugue on the name of Alain” by Maurice Duruflé. Lim holds her doctorate in music literature and performance from Indiana University, is the winner of numerous prestigious competitions for organ, keeps an active concert schedule and has music ministry experience both in the United States and in Korea.