Music News

It Has Arrived!

The Organ

The Allen G340-DK

The organ has arrived and brings with it a modification to the interior frontal design of the church designed by a professional architectural firm to accommodate key components of the instrument. A placard currently on display in the Narthex of the Church represents these changes. The organ features the following state-of-the-art characteristics (more information available at Allenorgan.com):

  • A movable console consisting of three manuals, AGO standard conclave pedalboard, and 50 Stops (62 stops with optional GeniSys Voices - two stops per division plus four MIDI stops per division) in drawknob configuration
  • GeniSys Voicing and Display - advanced touchscreen control providing access to the many functions of a modern console, known as a Vista Navigator or a sequencer; 40 combination action memory levels (and many more via USB drive) to meet the demands of most organ literature and service playing
  • 7-Channel Audio System including Antiphonal Division  
  • Manuals controlled by touch-sensitive Optical Sensor Technology 
  • Advanced MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) capability in HD with over 250 options including additional organ voices, orchestral, keyboard and percussion voices (a particular favorite are the chimes!)
  • Five traditional sound profiles (known as suites) sampling some of the world's most important organ building traditions, including: 

Willis - Characterized by Diapasons and weighty reeds, this style of organ building was brought to its height by renowned 19th-century British organ craftsman Henry Willis. Numbered among his greatest works are the organs of St. Paul's Cathedral, London and The Royal Albert Hall.
Cavaillé-Coll
 - Broad Montrés and dominant fiery reeds are integral parts of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's tonal scheme. The genius of this French organ builder was his creation of the symphonic organ. The "Grande Orgue" became an extension of the orchestra and "a new sound for a new age".
Schlicker
 - The Schlicker Organ Company specialized in instruments of Neo-Baroque design supportive of contrapuntal music. The European heritage of this American organ builder is readily evident in the sound of their instruments.
Arp Schnitger
 - A renowned tradition of the 17th century, the Arp Schnitger is a monument of the North-German School of organ building.
Aeolian-Skinner
 - Under the tonal direction of G. Donald Harrison, this company developed the American Classic tonal design, characterized by firm and articulate principals, bright mixtures and French-style reeds.

We will be utilizing predominately Willis, Cavaillé-Coll, and Aeolian-Skinner for the next few months as these have been the suites best voiced and balanced for our particular space. Giving credit where credit is due, our tonal director is Mr. Stephen Leslie, a sought after organ technician, organist, and pianist originally from Atlanta, GA. Mr. Leslie holds the Bachelor's in Organ Performance from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (1971) and the Masters in Collaborative Piano from Houghton College (2016), a Wesleyan school in western New York. Mr. Leslie has served a number of congregations throughout his career including three Wooster, OH communities: Trinity United Church of Christ, Westminster Presbyterian, and currently Wooster United Methodist Church. Mr. Leslie's career has been dedicated to the ownership of Newton Pipe Organ Services, Inc. and to being the West Coast Representative for Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, OH where he began in 1975. In 1998, he was invited to return to the tonal department as a staff Voicer and Tonal Finisher, a position he held until retirement in December 2013. Recent projects have included and are not limited to the famed E.M. Skinner Opus 634 at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel which boasts 8,565 pipes distributed over 132 ranks, the largest in the state of Illinois. We are honored to have access to Mr. Leslie's expertise and wisdom and we look forward to a continued rapport with him. We are also grateful for the excellent counsel and hard work of Mr. Robert DeMass and the team from Pellegrino Music of Canton, OH who returned to us with a beautiful visualization of our organ space, incorporating the unique area and placement of key components within our elegant and simply stated chambers on either side of the marble and stain glass façade and behind the choir loft. 

We are ever so grateful to the boundless generosity of our parishioners, clergy, and Organ Committee for giving of their time and treasure to create a reality of this aspiration. We are very happy to welcome our new organ and cordially invite you to inquire or to join the music ministry for this new chapter in our worship life together as a Parish. 

In addition to incorporating the wonderful tradition of repertoire, hymnody, and accompaniment, the organ makes possible a number of new initiatives (and revisiting of old ones) in the area of Concert Ministry and may include such events as choral and instrumental performances, organ recitals and demonstrations, School show-and-tells (brief field days entitled "pedals and pizza") or other children's programs such as Christmas Pageants or a special program for All Souls Day (Halloween), hymn sings, a joint event of the Cleveland Chapters of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and the National Pastoral Musicians Association (NPM), or services to other important events throughout the Liturgical Year. Stay tuned as we move forward with this exciting new project. 

Please also check out Patrick's Musings, Music Blog/Links, and Recordings  below where our Director of Music will keep you informed on his latest as well as other fun topics related to the musical arts, some of which will relate directly to the organ while others may relate to broader musical issues in dialogue with what we do at SJA.

Patrick's Musings

KSU Orchestra and Choruses
A KSU Orchestra and Chorus Performance took place Sunday, May 6, 2018 at Cartwright Auditorium on the main campus of Kent State University. The above link features a post-streaming of this performance which will be available for a limited time. Music, poetry, dance and journalism weaved together for the world premiere of "I Sing the Body," a newly composed multi-movement work for chorus and orchestra which included a new piece of mine entitled "My Voice". It can be viewed at approximately 20'40". Drawing on the talent of students from across the university, the creation of this work represents the interdisciplinary collaboration of the School of Music, Wick Poetry Center, the School of Theatre and Dance, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (recording interviews with the composers, including myself, forthcoming). The concert opened with Verdi's "Nabucco Overture." As a grand finale, the KSU Orchestra and Choirs performed the "Dona nobis pacem" of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Jungho Kim and Scott MacPherson conducted. Thank you to all who came or who viewed online. 
 
I performed a Student Showcase Recital with violin featuring the Kreutzer sonata of L.v. Beethoven, as well as sonatas of Schumann and Mozart on Thursday, April 26th, 2018 at Ludwig Recital Hall on the main campus of KSU. I also performed a new multi-movement piano work entitled 3 Pieces for Piano on the last Student Composers Recital of the academic year. This recital was April 30th, 2018 in Ludwig Recital Hall.
 
June 23-July 1, 2018 I participated in the Oxford University Choral Singing and Composing for Choirs Institute through the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University, England; Dr. James Whitbourn, Dir. The Seminars are described as "... an intensive residential course for select singers who are looking to develop choral musicianship skills within a small choir typical of those found in many of Oxford University’s colleges and chapels. Studying and living in Oxford’s former Anglican monastery, now a Hall of the University of Oxford, students are immersed in the riches of the English choral tradition, especially music associated with Oxford - a city and university famed throughout the world for its excellence and history in choral music. [Repertoire is] drawn from the English choral tradition and [includes] a number of works that fall outside the standard canon, together with those that appear more frequently on Oxford college chapel music lists. Repertoire in 2017 included Sarum chant and anonymous medieval pieces together with polyphonic works by Sheppard, Parsons, Gibbons, Taverner, Ouseley, Stainer, Walton and Rubbra." Recordings are available at the above website under Overview. I also had the honor of composing for the Seminar choir and have listed recordings and media here to attest to this wonderful experience. I should also note there was an appreciable presence of a cohort from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, NJ in the choir.  In fact, Westminster joins with Oxford University to produce a Choral Conducting Seminar directly following the Singing and Composing Seminar which will possibly be the focus of my attention next summer. Stay tuned for a decision in the Spring of 2019. 
 
The video below, a Civil War Era operatic scene composed by Dr. Jesse Ayers of Malone University entitled Beneath Suspicion, was selected in 2018 as a semi-finalist feature in the College/University division of the American Prize National non-profit competitions in the performing arts. This performance features myself as accompanist, with Jessica Crowell and Desirée Mischell Hargrave sopranos, and Joy O'Connor (violin). It was recorded in May 2017 at Malone University's Johnson Center. Congratulations to my colleagues and friends with whom I have enjoyed creating new music. 

Patrick's Music Blog

Patrick's Music Blog Links

Patrick's Recordings: 2004-2016

Organ Demos

The links below feature information on Allen GeniSys Voices and Display. The first clip features a highly detailed technical demonstration by organist Hector Olivera while the second features a more basic explanation by Barry Holben, VP of Sales at Allen: 

The Organ

Summer Conventions 2017 & 2018

Jesse Ayers: Beneath Suspicion

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church

496 East Washington Street
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022
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