Pipe organs generally claim two important anniversary dates: the date the instrument was installed and the date of the dedicatory recital. While 2020 was the tenth anniversary of the organ installation at FPC, March 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the dedicatory recital. Both dates are important in the life of the instrument, but the date of the dedicatory recital is usually the one that is commemorated, for this is the first time the instrument is heard in all its glory. I remember attending and feeling awestruck by the instrument itself, as well as of the skill and musicality displayed by Dr. Christopher Marks (son of Dick and Lynne Marks) as the recitalist. Fast forward 10 years and here I am, blessed to be the one who gets to make this incredible instrument sing!
To help us celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Lewtak Organ, I will be presenting a series of lunchtime organ concerts every Friday in March. Each “mini concert” will begin at noon and last 15-20 minutes. Concert repertoire will feature arrangements of well-known hymn tunes and classics, including: How Great Thou Art, Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, Jesus Loves Me, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder/When We All Get to Heaven and Just a Closer Walk with Thee. Of course, J.S. Bach will be represented! The concerts will stream on the First Presbyterian Church Facebook page.
FPC is blessed to house such an extraordinary instrument. The Lewtak Organ has been profiled in The Diapason (an international journal dedicated to organ and church music) and has been referenced in The American Organist (the American Guild of Organists’ official journal). I often receive emails from organists around the country inquiring about the instrument’s design, console configuration and overall sound. Lewtak Organ Builders uses our organ as a “model instrument” for potential clients. Church musicians from New York, Illinois, the Netherlands, Brazil and California have made the trek to Greenville in order to experience the organ firsthand.
No additional stops or sounds have been added to the organ since its installation, but that is about to change! I am excited to announce that Lewtak Organ Builders is creating a zimbelstern for our instrument. This “toy stop” is not a pipe; instead, it is a series of unpitched bells that rotate above a wooden base. When engaged, the zimbelstern creates a shimmering effect to the music. Stay tuned! More information to follow!
I hope you will join me each Friday in March as we celebrate this special anniversary of the Lewtak Organ at First Presbyterian Church.
Brad Collier, organist