Joey Fala

Joey Fala is pursuing a M.M. in organ at Yale, studying with Martin Jean. A native of Hawaii, he began organ studies with Katherine Crosier at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and later coached with Alfred Fedak and Christian Lane during his undergraduate career. Joey previously served as organist and choir director at First United Presbyterian Church in Troy NY as well as organ scholar at Central Union Church Honolulu, and is grateful to have received support from the AGO Hawaii Chapter, Eastern New York Chapter and Pogorzelski-Yankee memorial scholarships. A 2015 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B. Architecture and M.S. Lighting, he has worked as a designer with HLB Lighting in Boston, and in research at the Lighting Research Center in Troy.



After my last organ lesson as a senior in high school, I felt as if I was retiring the role of music in my life to that of a background hobby. I had always hoped to continue organ studies as a minor in college, having chosen to pursue a major other than music, but alas the school I had elected to attend was without a music program.

I crossed paths with Christian Lane the summer of my third year in college while in Boston for an internship. Despite barely knowing me, he had eagerly reached out to his colleagues to help find instruments for me to practice on during my time in the area. In our correspondence, he casually offered to give me some coaching on a piece I was learning. I showed up not expecting a three-hour lesson that turned out to be some of the most stimulating teaching I had ever recieved. I had discovered a teacher with terrifyingly perceptive ears, a level of perfectionism and a sense of enthusiasm that were what I needed to take my playing to the next level. Exploring a new depth of intentionality and vision unfamiliar to me, we unwrapped and examined my musical intuitions, asking questions that I didn’t exactly know how to answer. I had the sensation that we were working to create something together, an experience that opened my eyes to a world of possibility.

It goes without saying that I went back for more. After three months of working with Chris, I felt as if I had grown more as an artist than I had in my collective years of study. After that summer, my last two years of college included frequent weekend visits to Boston to work with Chris and meet up with his other students for events and camaraderie. The studio experience turned out to be the closest thing I had to a minor or even secondary major in music. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights we shared as a studio was our abroad trip to France and Holland which culminated my first year of studies with Chris. We played on legendary instruments in an “all-star lineup” of venues, and were privileged to attend masterclasses by some of the great European masters.

As I neared the end of my college career, the overwhelmingly transformative experience of studying with Chris lead me to consider pursuing graduate work in organ. Chris helped me to navigate the audition and scholarship application processes, in addition to providing invaluable networking and professional development help that was instrumental in situating myself within the organ community. As a current masters student in organ, working in church music and enjoying opportunities to perform, I largely credit being able to follow my passion to Chris’ generosity with his effort and time. As a teacher, coach and mentor he has been an endless source of musical influence, inspiration and encouragement every step of the way.
— Joey Fala