The year 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the installation of First Baptist’s marvelous Casavant organ. For this wonderful occasion, I am delighted to present a celebratory recital! It will take place on Sunday afternoon, February 18, at 3pm. The program will include works for solo organ by Louis Vierne (Carillon de Westminster) and J.S. Bach (including the well-known Toccata and Fugue in D minor), as well as works by three other famous French organist-composers: the Choral No. 2 in B minor of César Franck (1822-1890), Marcel Dupré’s (1886-1971) dazzling Prelude and Fugue in B major, Opus 7 No.1, and Olivier Messiaen’s (1908-1992) “Joie et Clarté des Corps Glorieux” (“Joy and Radiance of the Resurrected Ones”). FBG’s organ is Opus 3583 of Casavant Frères Ltée., a French-Canadian firm, and its tonal resources include a number of sounds which come from the French organ traditions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, making it a perfect vehicle for the performance of French and French-inspired organ music. The recital will also include a trio of short organ pieces based on spirituals from the African-American tradition: “Ain’t-a That Good News,” “Round About the Mountain,” and “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit,” by the American composers Marianne Kim, Noel da Costa, and Richard Elliott.

For this special anniversary recital, I will be joined by four of FBG’s Herring Choral Scholars—Kelsie Barrineau, Colleen Allard-Smith, Mic Cruz and Christian Dukes—and FBG’s Herring Church Music Intern, Noah Mofield, who will sing Bach chorales and Black Spirituals on which several of the organ pieces are based. In addition, the organ’s console will be moved to a front-and-center location in the chancel, allowing audience members a clear sightline to see as well as hear me perform.

I invite all FBG members to come experience the splendor of our magnificent Casavant organ on February 18!

—Charles

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