Richard Collman offers his Classification Talk

March 19, 2009

Seldom do we have a chance to hear from one of our members who is both a musician and minister. But today we heard from Richard Collman, who gave us his classification talk, and left no doubt in our minds that he has been passionate about both careers, and from an early age.dscn0554

Having joined our club two years ago, soon after moving to Northfield from Motley, MN, in 2006, Richard was ordained as a minister of the Methodist Church at Hennepin Ave. Methodist Church, Mpls, in 1969, and has recently has been scampering all over the midwest, pursuing his interests in playing organ music as well as in teaching it. He is also skilled at the piano and Celtic harp, and this presentation came at a fine time for organists, since this Saturday, March 21, is not only the first day of spring: it’s also the 324th birthday of the patron saint of all organists, J.S. Bach.

One of his most unusual credentials is that he is the Minnesota Chair for the National Cathedral Association, which supports the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. (I’ve been there several times, and a chance to visit there should never be missed.) Richard paints with a wide brush, and is as comfortable discussing the New Testament as he is discussing Sufi mystics. Hence, from Rumi, the Muslim 13th Century mystic: Today like every other day we wake up empty and scared

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading!

Take down the dulcimer. Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Richard describes himself as a “Broker of beauty, and steward of mystery.” He also likes to quote the goal of a musician named Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of the music division of the Boston Conservatory of Music, given to entering freshmen: “You’re not here to become an entertainer or sell yourself or even any products…I’m not a entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You’re here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropracter, a physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy as well.”
Thank you, Richard, from all of us at Rotary. “Spiritual version of a chiropracter”—–I like that a lot. Ed