Relax with piano solos by local musician

| August 29, 2017

Roger Besst, a church organist for 54 years, has recently recorded an album dedicated to his late mother, Carolyn Besst. It is available free of charge at Dan Duren Prudential Finances.

COSHOCTON – Roger Besst has been a church organist for 54 years and has played the piano since he was 10 years old. One of his musical inspirations in his life was his mother Carolyn Besst, and after her passing, a friend of Roger’s suggested that he make a recording of piano music as a tribute to her.

“She recognized my talent when I was very young,” said Roger. “She would tell me that when I was about 2 or 3 years old, I would climb up on the piano bench, and you know how most children just hit the piano keys? I would play a single note and then add another note to it. If it sounded good, I would kind of smile. If it didn’t sound good, I would make a face and try again. She knew I had an ear for music.”

Roger decided to record some of his mother’s favorite hymns and share them with the public. However, his first recording session didn’t go the way he planned.

“My first recording session occurred last year with Tom Rockey, recording engineer,” said Besst. “When he gave me the finished master disc, I was shocked to hear how badly my piano technique had deteriorated. This was a wakeup call for me. Further recording sessions were put on hold, giving me a chance to get my technique up to an acceptable level.”

Roger began taking lessons in 1955 with a public school teacher, who was then transferred in 1956. He then began taking lessons from Harold Stevenson.

“I owe my skills as a pianist to a local piano teacher, Harold E. Stevenson,” said Roger. “Most pianists we knew strongly suggested to study with Mr. Stevenson.”

Stevenson had a waiting list, but by 1957, Roger was one of his students.

“He was very popular and very good,” said Roger about Stevenson. “He was just outstanding.”

Roger’s piano background and a strong Christian faith led him to record his first CD, “Love Lifted Me”. It took six months to record the album, which was recorded at a local church. The album features 14 tracks of Roger’s mother’s favorite hymns.

“She played by ear and used to sing the hymns as she played,” said Roger. “She had a very strong faith, an unwavering faith. It never changed, even though she had a rough life there at the end. She was a good, solid Christian woman.”

The album is available at Dan Duren Prudential Financial, 243 S. Fourth St., Coshocton. Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The album is free to anyone who wants one.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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