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RCCO Concert -March 30th

Organists Gather in Perth for Concert

Regular concertgoers have probably had the opportunity to attend a recital by an organist at some point in their lives, but how many times have they had a chance to hear several organists in one program?  That opportunity is coming up this Sunday March 30, 3:00 p.m. at St. Paul’ United Church, Perth, when members of the Kingston Centre of the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) gather for their annual Members’ Recital. 

The RCCO, founded in 1909, is a national association of organists and church musicians in Canada with 32 centres from Victoria B.C. to Charlottetown in PEI.  The chief aims of the organization are to promote a high standard of organ playing, choral directing, church music and composition.

The Members’ Recital is a vehicle to allow organists a chance to try out unfamiliar instruments, to share repertoire ideas with their colleagues, and to share their love of the instrument with the general public.  The concerts have been running for about thirty years in various churches in Kingston, but this is the first time that the College has organized a “road trip” to another community for the recital.

Brad Mills, Director of Music at St. Paul’s is a member of the Kingston Centre of the RCCO and is hosting the event.  “I’m really looking forward to having my musician friends have a play on the St. Paul’s organ – it’s one of the finest instruments between Ottawa and Kingston.  It’s a 1939 Casavant that was enlarged and rebuilt in 1981 shortly after I arrived at the church.  We added MIDI capability and additional digital stops in 2001, so it is now a very complete instrument capable of playing a wide variety of repertoire”, says Mills.

Mills’ former teacher at Queen’s, and a consultant on the 1981 rebuild of the organ, Dr. David Cameron, will be one of the performers.  He and Fran Harkness will be performing a movement from Cameron’s “Sonata for Organ, Four Hands”.  Mills and local piano teacher Val Leavitt will be playing excerpts from their upcoming MERA four-hand piano concert as well as a piano and organ duet.  Michael Capon, organist at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Kingston will play a piece by

Canadian composer Ernest Macmillan, and Aurora Dokken, organist at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral will perform a 17th century six-movement Italian sonata with trumpeter Lawrence House.

The concert will be followed by a short Q&A session at the organ console, where concertgoers will have an opportunity to see the instrument up close and find out more about the world of the pipe organ, organ studies and careers and opportunities in the performance of organ music.

Pianists in the area are encouraged to attend.  The RCCO Kingston and Ottawa Centres administer a program of scholarships to offer beginner organists of all ages, a series of lessons with a qualified professional. Admission to the concer is by donation with proceeds going to the RCCO scholarship fund.

For further information, please contact Brad Mills at millham@sympatico.ca or 613 267 5967.

Brad working with the organ tuner preparing the organ at St. Paul's
for Sunday's RCCO Concert.