This Friday night, Calvary’s nave becomes a concert hall. The 79 ranks and 4590 pipes of the organ become a symphony orchestra. The Great Hall becomes a grand reception hall. Something old becomes something new. Going to an organ recital can be quite novel, in fact! I would be a wealthy church musician if I had “a Hamilton” for every time I heard the words, “I had no idea it would be so fascinating!”
If you’ve never been to an organ recital before because you think a visit to the dentist would be more fun, think again. A recital is a venue to hear all the things you can’t hear in church–Friday, we’ll hear works originally written for an orchestra. In fact, in one of the pieces, Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre, you’ll hear the rattling of bones, devilish dancing, and a rooster crow! The organ is moved to the middle of the chancel, so you can see how it’s played. It’s truly fascinating to watch an organist “at the cockpit.” There are so many buttons, levers, pedals, and keys that keep both hands and feet busy at all times.
And our organ is a landmark instrument. It represents the dawn of a superior way of organ tonal design and is still considered a standard even now in the 21st century. It is certainly old, and we were reminded of that Sunday when a significant air leak sprung, causing the original 81-yr old blower to overheat and shut down. (thank God for Helario Reyna, our facilities manager, who was able to temporarily fix it Sunday until organ tuners could craft a new part and install it yesterday.)
But the organ will sound new, novel, and fresh under the fingers of Ken Cowan, one of North America’s finest concert organists, praised for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique, and imaginative programming.
“When the artist is Ken Cowan, it is a given that the performance will be flawless and satisfying, that the registrations will show off the instrument to its best advantage, and that there will be a wide range of composers represented …”
The American Organist
In addition to the Danse Macabre, Ken will play works of the Baroque masters, Bach and Handel. His exciting and eclectic program includes composers from France, Canada, and England, and he will tell you a little bit about them throughout the recital. Ken is as comfortable speaking to his audience as he is wow-ing them in a display of mastery of one of the most complicated and intriguing instruments.
The evening will be complete with a gala reception hosted by Laurie & Brooks Monypeny and Laurie’s brother, Josh, in memory of their mother, Teresa Hardison, and Teresa’s beloved aunt and uncle, Adolph & Gladys Steuterman. Additionally, the Friends of Music at Calvary is delighted to co-sponsor this recital with the Memphis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in honor of Adolph Steuterman, Calvary’s organist-choirmaster for 56 years, and one of the founders of the Memphis AGO. Steuterman left a legacy of quality music both at Calvary and in Memphis. It is a privilege to honor an old tradition by keeping it new.
See you Friday!
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