THUNDER BAY, ON, ----- April 19, 2015 -- Thunder Bay has several very fine pipe organs to its credit. The Warren/Letourneau instrument at First – Wesley United on Brodie Street is unique with its’ English inspired stop list. There are plenty of 8’ registers to choose from many of them give this organ its very own sound. Many years ago the original organ underwent a major renovation and restoration; this was done by the reputable firm of Letourneau. When this instrument was re-installed what was once an eclectic English organ, was now an English inspired concert instrument capable of performing a much wider repertoire than it could in its original state.
Last Friday’s recital at First-Wesley was performed by Colin Redekop, one of the travelling clinicians that the National Royal Canadian College of Organists make available to regional centres on a bi-annual basis. In the photo above Colin is shown seated at the organ while local chapter president Sean Kim is playing the role of registrant and page turner. Collin thus began a recital which was well suited to the temperament of this instrument. Like the organ the programme was eclectic, a few selections from the academic repertoire, but in his words only semi-serious music, then the programme took a lighter turn when he played music from the silver screen including such songs as the “Entertainer” by Scott Joplin. Indeed the organ is an instrument that can play almost anything given a determined try.
Many in the audience were members of the local chapter of the RCCO and the concert presents organ music to the public in recital, something that happens in the city from time to time but not nearly enough. To be really successful in presenting recitals, the local organisation needs to work hard at promoting recitals, they need to bring in top notch recitalists since a poor quality recital can turn off the people you are trying to entice as audience members. Given the topic of this weekend’s work-shop “Survival of the Organist in modern times” or something to that effect I can see that hard work, practice and dedication will also be needed to succeed in modern times.
Many of the great instruments installed in Churches around the country were put in by congregations who wanted only the best for their church. This applied to the instrument as well as the quality of musicianship at the console. One of the principal purposes of the local RCCO is to help improve musicianship at the console by offering scholarships to prospective students at the organ. They help improve knowledge of the instrument by presenting recitals such as this one. Their organization is small and the challenge is huge. I hope that the RCCO can continue to present evenings like last Friday’s recital for many years in the future. It was nice to meet many organ playing colleagues at the reception.
Arts Editor: Lake Superior News