…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

On Believing and Bach

By Eric Chaffey


Johann Sebastian Bach

One of the greatest gifts we can be given is having someone (or many someones for that matter) believe in us and our abilities.

Heavenly Father believes in us a lot more than we ourselves do sometimes. Life is a challenge and sometimes a really tough one at that. But if Heavenly Father didn’t believe in us, he wouldn’t have sent us here to have these earthly experiences. He does believe in us and in we need to believe in ourselves more. Or at least I need to believe in myself more.

Fortunately, Heavenly Father places in our path other people who believe in us and who tell us on more than one occasion that yes we can do this. I was fortunate enough to study with one such person when I was at Weber State University in Ogden UT. Being an organ performance major where a specific “organ major” program didn’t exist was at times an exciting challenge and at other times an enormous headache.

My organ professor at Weber State had a lot of confidence in me and my abilities. At times he had a lot more belief in me than I did myself. I can well remember the day he talked to me about playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. I think I must have looked at him rather incredulously and perhaps had thoughts about the need for him to have his head examined. That particular piece while not the hardest organ work to play is never-the-less a real challenge. But he simply said that he believed I could do it.

Over the course of the semester, I practiced it a lot. But in addition to practicing it, I also learned more about it and about Bach and the importance of spiritual matters not only in his music but in his life. A lot has been written about Bach’s music and how it was so intertwined with his spiritual life. At the end of almost all of his works is the phrase, “Soli Deo Gloria” which translates “To God Alone be the Glory.” Toccata and Fugue in D minor was a piece of music that served multiple purposes. One of which was to “test drive” new organs that were being built around Germany at that time. But also and more importantly, it is a reflection of Christ and his atonement. As I learned this work as well as the meaning behind the music, I reflected on the Savior more and his role in my life.

Heavenly Father sent this organ professor into my life who believed that I could play the organ well and tackle some of the greatest literature of the organ. Heavenly Father also believed in my abilities with life to know that I was worth the effort as he does with all of his children. He loves us and believes in us so much that sent his only begotten son into the world not to condemn but to save the world. Indeed he believes in us and wants us back with him. And more than just believing in us, He Loves Us!

Heavenly Father has sent a lot of people into my life who love me and really care. Because of people who believed in me and cared enough to encourage me, I was able to do it. Playing the Toccata and Fugue in D minor on my senior recital is not only a testimony to the people who loved me and believed in me, but a testimony to a loving Heavenly Father and his beloved son Jesus Christ. Please enjoy the attached sound file. This was recorded at my Senior Recital November 17, 2009 in Libby  Gardner Hall at the University of Utah. Toccata and Fugue in D minor

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9 Responses to “On Believing and Bach”

  1. Rex Goode said:

    Count me among those who believe in you, Eric. I believed you could really enhance this blog with your special insights and you have done that so much. Thanks.

  2. Eric said:

    Thanks Rex, I love you my friend.

  3. Art said:

    I wanted to share that when someone says they believe in me, it adds to the impact of their belief in me when they’ve been down the road I’m thinking about taking. To me, my organ teacher telling me he believed in me and my ability to learn to play the Bach D minor Toccata & Fugue would mean a lot more to me than if several non-musician friends were to tell me the same thing, simply because my organ teacher had learned to play the music himself while my non-musician friends, while well-meaning and caring, had not paid the same price.
    To me, it points out the example of our Savior because He HAS been there and has paid the price.
    I like what you wrote and would like to be at your side to Bach you up.


  4. Art said:

    I forgot to ask this question: Are you the organist in the sound file you posted?

  5. Eric said:

    Yes I am. That sound file was from my senior recital November 2009.

  6. Eric said:

    Oops I hit the submit button too soon. Thanks for your feedback Art, I really appreciate it.

  7. Eric Chaffey said:

    Hi Art,

    Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. Yes the sound file is me. This was my senior recital at the University of Utah in November 2009.

  8. Rex Goode said:

    Wow, Eric! I just finally got around to listening to your senior recital. I was transported! Most music I just put on in the background while I work, but I just had to be still, close my eyes, and soak it in. You are so talented!

  9. Phil Bell said:


    My jaw dropped when I listened to this. I will never tell people I can play the organ again after listening to this. I do good just to play some simple preludes and hymns.
    What are you up to these days? You can find me on Facebook. Rex also has my email address.

    Phil Bell

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