Lester H. Groom (1929–2000) was born in Chicago and received his early keyboard training from both his mother and father. His father later became his major professor in organ and composition at Wheaton College (Illinois), where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1951. He earned the Master of Music degree in organ performance from Northwestern University in 1952. Groom held teaching positions at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago), Blue Mountain College (Mississippi), and Baker University (Kansas). He joined the faculty of Seattle Pacific University in 1969, where he taught organ, harpsichord, music theory, and composition. He retired from SPU in 1991 and was named Professor Emeritus the following year. Throughout his career, he held positions as church organist and choir director. He served as organist of First Presbyterian Church, Seattle from 1979 until his retirement in 1996.
His published works include organ and choral compositions, articles, and music reviews. He was a specialist in the art of organ improvisation and was a frequent lecturer at church music workshops and for thirteen summers he served on the faculty of the Evergreen Conference School of Church Music (Colorado).
"A Highland Procession" is quite unusual in many ways. It begins with a brief, "unique" fanfare, before moving into the actual "procession." I initially disliked the piece, largely because it was hard to "sight read." The little "rhythmic quirks" make for this difficulty, but also add to the appeal. By the time I had it done, I had grown to like it quite a bit.
It moves around from C major/minor to E-flat major, before arriving at the "middle section" in the key of A-flat.
There are some unusual cadences (also hard to sight read), and the effect is a grand one.
The piece is part of an upcoming collection of selected works by Lester Groom, very soon to be published by Lorenz. Over the next few days, I'll be "completing" the book.
A photo of Lester Groom is attached below.