Christmas Organ and Trumpet Concert and Carol Sing

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Post Concert Concord Monitor Article of Monday, January 6th, 2014

Organ concert brought a sense of brotherhood

[Acknowledged by Noelle Stokes, Community News Editor, on Friday, January 3, 2014 that this article will be in the Monday, January 6th Concord Monitor on page A7]

A huge thank you to all who came out on Dec. 22, when the members of First Church of Christ Scientist in Concord welcomed the community and friends from all over the tri-state area to their annual Christmas organ concert, centered around the massive Hutchings-Votey organ that filled the church with its wonderful sounds for everyone to come and enjoy. The Christmas organ and trumpet concert “Christmas Celebration” drew more than a hundred folks from all over, with attendance from the greater Concord community at large breaking the records.

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The centerpiece of the event was the Christmas celebration organ and trumpet concert, programmed and played by Dr. Susan Armstrong. Armstrong was accompanied by Vincent Monaco on trumpet and by Michael Sklader in organ duets. The program took all of us on a walk from the promise and anticipation of the birth of Christ, to the celebration of his birth, and the carol sing retraced that story with passages read from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science.

The audience was cheered and lifted by this beautiful program. Many congregants from other churches in the community introduced themselves after the concert, and all shared in the love and brotherhood of the moment. No wonder, considering the stellar reputations of our performing musicians!

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The organ and trumpet concert was followed by a little audience participation with a lovely carol sing. To our pleasant surprise, very few folks left after the concert during the intermission before the carol sing. During the break, any who had interest in the organ were invited up to the organ console to get a look and a tour conducted by Sklader. The line stretched back into the church, the interest keen and energized by the incredible range of the organ’s voice, so wonderfully expressed by Armstrong in her selections and execution!

All who stayed on for the carol sing were given another pleasant surprise, when trumpeter Monaco decided to stay on to add his wonderful accompaniment to the singing of the Christmas carols.

The concert was a wonderful experience of community and brotherhood for all who came, and opened a new chapter of love and mutual understanding among all good neighbors in Concord and beyond.

Thanks to everyone for coming to this Christmas celebration! Rejoicing and praise to all and to all a wonderful, loving, peaceful and generous new year!

Chris Coombs

 

 

The Program for the 2013

Christmas Concert

Organ and Trumpet

Organist: Dr. Susan Armstrong

Duet Organist: Michael Sklader

Trumpeter:  Vincent Monaco

Musician Biographies below

 

Sleepers Wake composed by Johann Ludwig Krebs forTrumpet and Organ

In Dulci Jubilo composed by Diderik Buxtehude for Organ

Christmas Fantasy in March Form composed by Roland Diggle for Organ

A Christmas Pastorale composed by Charles Callahan for Organ Duet

Trumpet Tune composed by Roger Hannahs forTrumpet and Organ

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel composed by Richard Ellsasser for Organ

Prelude, Opus 29 composed by Gabriel Pierne for Organ

Lullabye composed by Alexandre Guilmant for Organ

Festive Processional composed by David Lasky for Trumpet and Organ

Silent Night ciomposed by Dudley Buck for Organ

Adeste Fideles composed by T. Frederick H. Candlyn for Organ

Christmas Fantasy omposed cby Joel Raney for Trumpet and Organ

Puer Natus, Opus 29 #2  (A Child is Born) composed by Paul Lindsley Thomas for Organ Duet

Intermission

(10 Minutes, lights will flicker)

The Carol Sing

The Bible

Luke 2: 1, 4 (to;), 5, 7 followed by Hymn 310

Luke 2: 8- 14 followed by Hymn 11

Luke 2: 15, 16, 18, 20 followed by Hymn 222

Matthew 2: 1, 2, 9(and lo) 10, 11 followed by Hymn 158

Luke 2:40 followed by Hymn 164 

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

S & H 332: 23 and S & H 29: 20-28, 32-4 followed by Hymn 123

S & H 333:16-23 and S&H VII: 1-12 followed by Hymn 23

Recital Program Notes

The Organ and Trumpet Concert:

Sleepers Wake!

The Concert opens with a treatment of the traditional advent tune “Wach­et auf, ruft uns die Stimme”. The words may have been in­spired by a 1523 po­em by Nurem­berg’s Meist­er­sing­er Lu­ther­an po­et Hans Sachs (1494-1576)

Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!

Long heralded as the beginning of the Christmas season, it has for a long time been a source of musical inspiration.

In Dulci Jubilo

This chorale by Diderik Buxtehude sets the fourteenth-century macaronic hymn In dulci jubilo. (Its text is both in Latin and German.) The text of the first verse reads, “In sweet jollity now sing and rejoice: The delight of our heart lies in a manger and shines like the sun at his mother’s breast. He is alpha and omega.” The last two verses of the hymn end with the expression of the desire to have actually been there when all of this happened. Buxtehude places the hymn melody in the soprano, as he frequently does in his chorale treatments, and deploys it with liberal embellishment. When the text speaks of rejoicing, Buxtehude uses some tricks with octave displacement to paint a picture of extroverted celebration. Like the chorale prelude on Puer natus in Bethlehem, this piece is in 3/2 time.

Christmas Fantasy In March Form

The English-born American organist and composer, Roland Diggle, was educated at the Royal College of Music in London.

Diggle moved to the USA in 1904. He was a tireless advocate of organ music and wrote and arranged an enormous number of published pieces (over 500 organ compositions). He served for 40 years as organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, California. He was well known in national and international music circles and his works have been published both here and abroad. He presented recitals at both the San Diego and San Francisco World’s Expositions.

A Christmas Pastorale

Played by two organist seated at the console, this pastoral scene starts out like a piper quietly calling the Shepherd with a pan flute to the background of the strings. Based on “The Sussex Carol”, On Christmas Night All Christians Sing, the chimes beckon, as flute, horn, string and oboe take their turn playing.

Trumpet Tune

Roger Hannahs wrote this trumpet tune as an organ solo. Dr. Armstrong commissioned this piece for a performance at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, NY, where she  recorded it on her compact disc, “Romantic Masterpieces”.  For this concert Armstrong transcribed the work for trumpet and organ. Hannahs also wrote a concerto for organ and orchestra, which he conducted and Armstrong performed with the Albany Symphony. Hannahs won several awards for his compositions and has had much of his opus published.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Composer Richard Ellsasser (1926 -1972) was an American concert organist, composer, and conductor, who was primarily active during the 1940s, 50′s and 60′s. The young Ellsasser was a musical prodigy who studied piano and organ, first with his father, and later with Winslow Cheney and Albert Riemenschneider.. He made his New York organ debut in 1937. At the age of 19 he became the youngest person in history to have played, from memory, all 250+ organ works of J. S. Bach

Prelude, opus 29

Noted French composer, conductor and organist, (Henri-Constant-) Gabriel Pierné, has been called the most complete French musician of the late Romantic/early 20th century era. In his own music Pierné blended a seriousness of purpose (acquired in part through his studies with César Franck) with a lighter, more popular flavor reminiscent of Jules Massenet (with whom Pierné also studied. Pierné displayed great musical promise as a child. At age 11 Pierné earned a medal for his solfège skills. In 1882 he was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata Edith.

Lullabye   Alexandre Guilmant

In 1871 Guilmant was appointed to play the organ regularly at la Trinité church in Paris, and this position he held for 30 years.[1] From then on Guilmant followed a career as a virtuoso; he gave concerts in the United States (the first major French organist to tour that country), and in Canada, as well as in Europe, making especially frequent visits to England. His American achievements included a 1904 series of no fewer than 40 recitals on the largest organ in the world, the St. Louis Exposition Organ, now preserved as the nucleus of Philadelphia‘s Wanamaker Organ.

Festive Processional

Composer Lasky is Director of Music and Organist at St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church in Leominster, MA. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music History and Literature at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1979, and earned his Master of Music degree in Organ Performance, also at UMASS/Lowell, in 1981. In 2005, he earned his Master of Arts degree in Church Music and Liturgy from the Rensselaer Program of Church Music and Liturgy at St. Joseph’s College, Rensselaer, Indiana.

Silent Night

Composer Dudley Buck (1839 –1909) was an American composer, organist, and writer on music. He published several books, most notably the Dictionary of Musical Terms and Influence of the Organ in History, which was published in New York in 1882. This piece reflects his style.

 Adeste Fideles

Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn (1892–1964) was an English-born organist, composer and choirmaster who spent most of his professional career at two Episcopal Church congregations in New York.He received the Bachelor of Music degree from Durham University in 1911.  During his years in Albany, Candlyn taught at the New York State College for Teachers. He served as chair of the music department beginning in 1924 and received an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy (Pd.D.) from the College in June 1927. He founded the Albany Oratorio Society and conducted the Mendelssohn Club of Albany during its 1939-1940 and 1940-1941 seasons.  Candlyn composed two hundred works, primarily anthems, cantatas, service settings and organ solos. Three of his anthems (“Christ, whose glory fills the skies,” “Thee We Adore,” and “King of Glory, King of Peace”) remain part of the standard repertoire of Episcopal church choirs in North America. 

This piece reflects the many moods of Christmas with its improvisatory style and form. It includes “O come, O Come, Emmanuel” , “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Good Christian Men Rejoice”, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. There is an interplay of melody and rhythms as these tunes are creatively woven together. The organ serves to enhance the powers of this musical fantasy.

Puer Natus, Opus 29#2 ( A Child is Born)

Composer Paul Lindsley Thomas

was honored recently during a concert at the Meyerson Symphony Hall, Dallas, Texas. Five of Dr. Thomas’ compositions were performed, following which Dr. Charlotte Kroeker, executive director of CMI, cited Dr. Thomas’ accomplishments and introduced him to the audience. Dr. Thomas received a standing ovation. The previous evening at a dinner in his honor, Dr. Thomas received a Life Achievement Award from the CMI. He is a member of the ASCAP, and his biography is in Who’s Who in America.

Organ History


The Organ was a gift by the members of 1st Church of Christ, Scientist, New York. The organ was originally built by Hutchings-Votey of Boston, in 1904. The organ rebuilder has been George Bozeman, Jr. whose company originated in Pembroke NH and has instruments all over America.

The organ has 32 ranks of pipes with 30 stops. The pipes are belgian zinc, polished and lacquered. The Chimes were added and the key action of the organ was converted from tubular pneumatic to electro-pneumatic action in 1937.  The organ was entirely reconditioned in 1952 and has been further refurbished with new leathers. When this rebuilding was completed the organ was given the title “OPUS 70.” The new organ console, installed in 1998, is a Copeman Hart console and was built in England. 

In her letter of gratitude to the members of the New York branch church, Mary Baker Eddy penned the often cited summary of her experience as a Christian Healer and the founder of a world-wide movement:

Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.

Our Musicians

We are blessed with three musicians in the recital. Dr. Susan Armstrong is the Church’s organist, full time. She hails from Henniker NH, and has dedicated most of her life to the presentation of the full-bodied and luminous music that this organ so wonderfully provides for all who come to enjoy it. Susan is accompanied by Vincent J. Monaco, trumpeter, and Michael Sklader, organist.

All three have worked together here and in other recitals all over New England. We are so grateful to have them present this program for your enjoyment today.

Organist: Dr. Susan Armstrong, AAGO

Dr. Susan Armstrong, AAGO, is past Dean of the Merrimack Valley chapter of the American Guild of Organists, served on the national AGO committee “On The New Organist”. She was director of two Pipe Organ Encounters for teen-aged students, and graduated from Boston University. She currently teaches at New England College and is the director of the College Chorus.  Susan is in her sixth year as organist for the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Concord,New Hampshire. She studied with Anton Heiller in Austria, and Michel Chapuis in France. She has performed widely in Europe,Canada and the United States. Armstrong has a tremendous repertory of organ and orchestra works that include world premieres as well as the standard compositions. Her recitals and recordings are broadcast by both local and National Public Radio stations.

Active as a writer, her articles on American music have appeared in the major music journals.  Armstrong’s slide-show lectures on Everett Titcomb, “Silvery Majesty: the Johnson Organs”, and “Father Johnson and the Westfield Builders” are in great demand by church and AGO groups.

On the AFKA label, Armstrong has made Compact Discs: “Heard On High” for harp & organ at Methuen Memorial Music Hall; “Musique de la Basilique” at Mission Church in Boston; “Methuen Mosaic” at the Methuen Memorial Music Hall; “Romantic Masterpieces” at All Saints’ Cathedral in Albany, NY; and “Centennial Celebration” on the Johnson organ at Waterbury, Connecticut. She also recorded a two-volume “Johnson Documentary” and “An Evening of Elegance” atFirstChurch,Monson,Massachusetts. She is also a member of the AMC 100 Highest Club of New England, and the Essex County Bee Club.

Organist: Michael Sklader

Michael Sklader has been playing the organ since he was 13 years old. His first position was at St Stephen’s Church in Paterson, NJ. Presently, he is organist at the Portland Street Baptist Church in Haverhill, Mass, where he plays an 1885 Hook & Hastings. As a graduate of Montclair State College, he later studied organ at the University of Krakow in Krakow, Poland. He has performed in concerts in New England and New York. Michael and Susan have played duets together in concert in New York and New England.

 

Trumpet Player: Vincent J Monaco

Vincent Monaco is a member of the Music Faculty at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.  He has taught there for twenty-seven years.  In 2001 he was honored to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the Presidential Scholars Program.

 

As a trumpet player, his teachers have included Walter Chesnut, Carmine Caruso, Roger Voisin, Gerard Schwartz and Charly Schleuter.  Recent performances have been with the Handel & Haydn Society, Orchestra at Emmanuel Church, Cantata Singers Orchestra,AcademyofAncient Music, Arcadia Players, L’Orchestra Symphonica di Firenza (Florence,Italy), New York Historical Society, Junko Fujiwara’s Green Umbrella Series and the Smoke and Mirrors Showband.

 He is a member of the Haverhill Ridge Runners.

2012 Christmas Concert Program

Recital Master’s notes on the music

Trumpet Tune on “Wake, Awake The Night is Flying”

The Concert opens with a  treatment of the traditional advent tune “Wach­et auf, ruft uns die Stimme”. The words may have been in­spired by a 1523 po­em by Nurem­berg’s Meist­er­sing­er Lu­ther­an po­et Hans Sachs (1494-1576)

Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!

Long heralded as the beginning of the Christmas season, it has for a long time been a source of musical inspiration.

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In

Based on a Traditional English Carol of 15th Century,  this dance like arrangement includes a portion of the melody “O come all ye Faithful”.

Fantasy on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

London medieval melody  often sung in the open air  by strolling bands  and minstrels,  This organ fantasy begins with a thundering statement of the theme in the pedals, answered in turn by the keyboards. The tune intertwines, showcasing the many voices of the organ as it climbs and turns, ending with a powerful statement of the last phrase of the carol.

Cantique de Noel

This sweet carol, was penned by the same composer who, in his opera Giselle, created what is said to be the most difficult role for a male ballet dancer.  Translated to English as ” O Holy Night”, is an international favorite, and is said to have been the first music broadcast on radio.

Noel Polanaise

This set of variations on a traditional Polish Christmas carol, provides varieties of moods .

In 1871 Alexandre Guilmant was appointed to play the organ regularly at la Trinité church in Paris, and this position he held for 30 years. From then on Guilmant followed a career as a virtuoso; he gave concerts in the United States (the first major French organist to tour that country), and in Canada, as well as in Europe, making especially frequent visits to England. His American achievements included a 1904 series of no fewer than 40 recitals on the largest organ in the world, the St. Louis Exposition Organ, now preserved as the nucleus of Philadelphia’s Wanamaker Organ.

O Come, All Ye Faithful

A fine example of repeat tunes popular in late 18th century America and England, this organ and trumpet piece provides a joyous journey.

After an organ fanfare, the trumpet sounds the tune of this well known carol, after a playful interlude variation on the organ, the trumpet reenters and brings it all to a festive conclusion.

A Christmas Pastorale

Played by two organist seated at the console, this pastoral scene starts out like a piper quietly calling the Shepherd with a pan flute to the background of the strings. Based on “The Sussex Carol”, On Christmas Night All Christians Sing, the chimes beckon, as flute, horn, string and oboe take their turn playing.

Christmas Fantasy –  Organ and Trumpet

It reflects the many moods of Christmas with its improvisatory style and form. It includes “O come, O Come, Emmanuel” , “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Good Christian Men Rejoice”, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. There is an interplay of melody and rhythms as these tunes are creatively woven together. The organ serves to enhance the powers of this musical fantasy.

Evening  Bells and Cradle Song

This piece was written in 1912, the year thatPortlandCity Hallacquired its famous organ. Will C. Macfarlane

was hired as organist and wrote this piece for this large marvel of an orchestral instrument. It evokes a magical feeling so fitting to the season. Macfarlane gave a copy of his 1912 score to Gilbert Macfarlane, who in turn, presented it to Susan Armstrong for her concert repertoire.

Perfectly suited for this organ, it gives us some orchestral sounds not often heard.

Christmas Fantasy – Organ Duet.

Also including familiar Christmas Carols, this Duet begins with the sound of the Chimes summoning us to gather for the Carol Sing that follows the Concert..  With Four hands and Four feet,  it showcases the many rich and varied voices of this magnificent instrument. It goes from the absolute quietest stops to  ”hold on to your pews, it’s going to be a bumpy night”, ending with full organ. Merry Christmas!

 

The Program

Introductions

The Recital

Intermission

Hymn Sing

*       *       *

Wake, Awake the Night is Flying by Martha Sobaje

Organ and Trumpet

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In by Sharon Elery Rogers

Organ

Fantasy on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by W. T. Best

Organ

Cantique de Noel by Adolphe Adam

Organ and Trumpet

Noel Polanaise by Alexandre Guilmant

Variations on the Polish Carol “Infant Holy”

Organ

O Come, All Ye Faithful, Arranged by Sue Mitchell-Wallace

Organ and Trumpet

A Christmas Pastorale by Charles Callahan

Duet for Organ

 Christmas Fantasy by Joel Raney

Organ Duet and Trumpet


The Hymn Sing

Christmas Celebration

The Bible

Luke 2: 1, 4 (to;), 5, 7  followed by Hymn 310

Luke 2: 8-14 followed by Hymn 11

Luke 2: 15, 16, 18, 20 followed by Hymn 222

Matthew 2: 1, 2, 9 (and lo) 10, 11 followed by Hymn 158

Luke 2:40 followed by Hymn 417

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

by Mary Baker Eddy

S & H 332: 23 and S & H 29: 20-28, 32-4 followed by Hymn 123

S & H 333:16-23 and S&H VII: 1-12 followed by Hymn 23

Finis

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Season’s Greetings to all,

and to all a peace-filled New Year!