Allen began piano lessons as a young child. After a couple of years, with the permission of his church’s pastor, he was able to practice on the pipe organ; he soon began lessons on the organ as well as the piano. From about the age of 12 he occasionally played services in and around his hometown of Columbia, Illinois. On a couple of occasions he played at nearby Maeystown, Illinois, and he was interested to learn recently that his great-great grandfather had served as the church organist there.
Allen earned a Bachelors and Masters degree in Applied Piano from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied under Joel Shapiro and William Heiles. As a graduate student, he had assistantships accompanying vocal students and teaching private piano lessons.
He enjoys teaching very much and has taught piano at all levels since high school. Allen’s students have ranged in age from 6 to 80 years of age.
Allen obtained a second Masters Degree in library science, again from UIUC. His career was as a librarian, in which profession he served as the Music Librarian at Webster University for 25 years. He has held positions as a church musician since graduation from the university, including his present position of almost 20 years as church organist for First Church of Christ Scientist in Town and Country. He has done extensive vocal accompanying, and his present church position includes accompanying a soloist at weekly services.