In response to Playing It Forward Daddy, the organist at MDPC sent me the comment below and asked me to post it for her. It's longer than the usual blog comment and gives a contestant's viewpoint of my father's pipe organ contest, so I decided to make it a separate blog post. Many thanks, Kathryn, for sharing this with me!
"I am the organist at QG's church. I have many stomach turning remembrances of the "San Antonio contest," as we called it at UT. I can remember pacing the halls in First Presbyterian Church as I awaited my turn to play. The organ is a Holtkamp, which has a setterboard. You can not change pistons at the organ console. You have to walk around the pipes in the balcony and get to this contraption on the wall, and set all of your pistons. I did not like the setterboard! Holtkamp Organ Co. finally stopped making the setterboards!
QG is right about sightreading the hymns. You were given a list of a dozen hymns to practice, and you didn't know which one they would ask you to play. I still think of the "San Antonio contest" everytime I play "All Creatures of Our God and King."
Another thing is they gave you a Bach prelude and fugue to learn. One for undergraduates and one for graduates. The big Bach prelude and fugue for my Junior and Senior degree recitals were the pieces assigned by the San Antonio contest organizers.
Thanks for Mr. Hall and to QG for the vision and energy to maintain such a wonderful contest and for encouraging organ students!"