April 19 – 21
This was an exciting weekend for me – my first organ dedication! Wahl Organbuilders, from Appleton, Wisconsin, and Daniel Schwandt, the cantor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Chicago’s Hyde Park, asked me to dedicate this new instrument. Dan, as well as Christoph and Ron Wahl (of Wahl Organbuilders), are all people I always enjoy running into at organ conventions and other organ-related events, and I was honored they asked me to play. The Wahl organ is not large (20 stops, 2 manuals), and mechanical action, so it reminded me of many instruments I played during my time in Germany. Another similarity was the amazing variety of colors and sounds available with a relatively small stop list. Like organs I came to love in Euopre, every stop here is beautiful in it’s own right. It’s also super versatile, and I played a wide variety of repertoire on the dedication recital, and felt like it all worked well. The former cantor at Augustana was commissioned to write a piece for the occasion, and I really enjoyed playing Larry J. Long’s setting of A Mighty Fortress. The church was full for the recital with congregation and community members, and everyone was pleased with the end result of years of work and planning.
I’m pictured with here Christoph, right after the organ was installed in the fall.
and right after the recital with Ron and Dan. (see how happy we all are!)
The day after the recital, I had some time before my train left, so I headed up to Winnetka to hear the Pasi organ there in the congregational church, which is modeled on the Silbermann organ at the Hofkirche in Dresden, an instrument I’ve played, and in a very beautiful and enviable space, so that was a final treat to a great weekend.