Who are Cornell’s organ students? Part 2

Undergraduate Lide Forde, ’16: A Lifetime Love of the Organ.

Lide Forde received his BA in Economics from Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences this past weekend. A hard-working member of the organ studio since his arrival at Cornell, he will be much missed as he goes on his way, moving now to New York City. He recently talked to us about himself and his organ studies at Cornell.

AR: Tell us a bit about yourself: what is your background, what is/has been the focus of your studies at Cornell?

LF: I was born in a small South American country called Guyana where I grew up with my parents and two sisters. I decided to apply to colleges in the United States because I felt that the lone college back in Guyana wouldn’t have challenged my intellect. Here at Cornell, I was a premed student for about two years after which I decided to switch into the Economics major and pursue a career in Finance. However, one course of study remained constant throughout my academic career and that was my study of the pipe organ. In fact, in my college admission essay to Cornell, I wrote specifically about my intentions to play the organs housed here.

AR: How long have you been studying the organ? What encouraged you to take lessons in the first place? 

LF: I have been studying the organ ever since my first semester (now, I am a graduating senior). But in high school, I played the piano for a short while then realized that I wanted to pursue the skills of organ-playing. By and large, I attribute my interest in the organ to my Protestant upbringing. Guyana, once a British colony, has a large Anglican population and many of the churches there have organs that resemble those of churches in England. I would therefore hear the

organ bellowing down the nave of my church at every church service, an experience I couldn’t help but come to love.

AR: What are some of the things you find interesting / exciting about the organ?

LF: What really stands out to me is the pedal division of the organ. I am amazed at how powerful the pedal is in anchoring and providing gravity to the music being played in the hands. I like being able to not only hear the music but also feel it vibrating through the floor beneath my feet.

AR: Are there special aspects of organ study at Cornell that you’d like to tell us about? What do you think you have most gained from playing the organ here? What are the most important things you have learnt? What do you most like about playing the organ?

LF: If it weren’t for the organ and my very supportive organ professors, Annette Richards and David Yearsley, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to cope with the academic rigor and important life-changing events I’ve experienced throughout my undergraduate career. I use the organ as an escape from the world around. It lends me the opportunity of focusing solely on making music and blocking out the rest of time and space.

AR: How do you think the organ will figure in your life after you leave Cornell?

LF: I intend on joining a local church in the New York City area and being able to flex my organ muscles there. Playing the organ is a skill that I’m continuously honing and I certainly don’t want it to stop when I leave Cornell.

AR: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

LF: I am just very grateful for the opportunity of experiencing music here at Cornell and being exposed to the fine expertise of the music department. As an alumnus, I pledge to help in the restoration and maintenance of the organs here at Cornell so that subsequent generations of students can submerge themselves in a once-in-a-lifetime organ-playing adventure at one of the world’s finest academic institutions.

Thank you Lide. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to teach you, and we wish you all the very best in your new professional life. Congratulations on your graduation!