On a rare occasion, someone comes along who is so gifted musically,
it seems like that person can play any instrument and do so with
Lieba Schwalbe can be considered a musical prodigy, having the
ability to sing and play many musical instruments.
Lieba performed her repertoire at a spring organ concert on
Sunday, March 18, at First Presbyterian Church in La Crosse. The
church features a pipe organ, which sounds so much more majestic
and deeper resonance.
Lieba, 16, is a sophomore at Logan High School in La Crosse.
She is a member of the select choir and of an SATB acapella vocal
group called Fermata Nowhere. She also runs on the school cross-country
Lieba is the daughter of Daniel Green and Laura Schwalbe.
The Coulee Region Group of the American Organist Guild (AOG)
sponsored the event.
Lieba played "Prelude in Classic Style," Trumpet Voluntary,"
"Song of Peace," "Toccata in G Major," and "Galleries Ancien." One
of her songs, "Roulade for Pedals," involved playing the entire
song with only the foot pedals, no keys involved.
She also played, "For the Beauty of the Earth," accompanied
by trumpet player Ezekiel Wettstein, and the entire audience sang
"It went well," Lieba said. "I never performed in front of an
audience like this before. It was fun, I'd do it again."
Sue Walby, her organ teacher, said she has had many students,
but Lieba has been exceptional. Walby has been providing organ lessons
since Lieba was 12. She was extremely proud of Lieba's performance
"She was so composed - she's very committed. She doesn't blow
her own horn very humble," Walby said. "She has a lot of
talent. She is amazing and so hard working."
While piano can be very difficult to learn, playing the organ
is exponentially more difficult because it involves five to six
keyboard instead of one, and the floor pedals, Walby said.
Lieba attributes her talent to play to lots of practice, work,
but fun work. She receives her organ lessons after church services
each Sunday, plus piano lessons during the week.
She loves music in general.
"Music is a spiritual experience. That's what drew me in," Lieba
Her mother, Laura, said that Lieba is a very independent young
"In first grade, she begged me to let her take piano lessons.
I thought she was kidding, but she was serious. She took her lessons
very seriously, and still does to this day," Laura said.
Her talent extends to all forms of music. Besides her abilities
to play organ and piano, she sings and plays the dulcimer and the
"I started teaching her piano when she was 7, at the end of
her first grade," said Deanna Lee, her piano teacher. "Everything
I gave her to practice, she did. She never balked and she always
did it. She's very ambitious. She still attends lessons every Monday
night and she's still growing as a musician."
Lieba uses her musical talent to entertain her listeners, but
she recently has found a humorous way to earn a couple dollars.
"Her brother paid her to sing and play the guitar for a demo
recording of a song he wrote," Laura said.
This summer she will attend the 2018 Pipe Organ Encounter at
St. Olaf College/ Shattuck School, sponsored by the Twin Cities
She has played the pipe organ for six years and has traveled
to many other states to attend organ workshops that she has gotten
scholarships to attend. She is also vocally talented and will soon
compete at the state competition.
Lieba wants to pursue a career in music, but since she is a
sophomore, she has a few years to go before having to make the decision
where to attend college.
"She plans to study music performance. We'll see if she wins
at state for vocals and she may receive a scholarship," her father
Not only is she talented in all aspects of music, she also is
excellent in the classroom. She has top-notch grades at Logan High
"Academically, she's on top," her father said.