Las Vegas Sun

January 17, 2018

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At UNLV, organ recital no longer a pipe dream

It's fitting, then, that the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present its first full recital, an afternoon of Advent and Christmas music, on the stately von Beckerath, a 38-stop, 53-rank, three-manual organ anchoring the stage at UNLV's Doc Rando recital hall at UNLV.

The more-than-4,000-pipe instrument, made possible by a gift by the family of the late organist Maurine Smith, will voice the works of Bach, Buxtehude and Helmut Wacha, among others.

"It's so majestic," said Raynond Barnes, longtime organist and membership chairman for the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. "This organ is so magnificent. It fits the room."

The organ, built in Germany and installed at UNLV in July, was dedicated in October. This weekend's Christmas concert, co-sponsored by UNLV, will feature performances from six members of the local chapter.

The 60-member chapter has presented advent recitals in the past," Barnes said. "But we've never had so many people excited about playing that organ."

Bede Parry, organist for All Saints Episcopal Church, will perform "Prelude in G" by Buxtehude, a 17th century composer and organ virtuoso, Walcha's "Zu Bethlehem Geboren" J.S. Bach's "Deck Thyself O My Soul."

David Dorway, head organist for First Presbyterian Church of Las Vegas, will perform Bach's "In Dulci Jubilo," "Greensleeves" (also known as "What Child is This?"), arranged by Searle Wright, and Dale Wood's arrangement of "Silent Night."

Dorothy Young Reiss will perform "Chorale Prelude in Dulci Jubilo," Max Reger's "Weihnacten," which includes four Christmas carols, and Jan Janca's toccatina on "Hort, der Engel helle Lieder." Written in 1995, this is the piece's U.S. premiere.

Carla Swift, an organist and student of UNLV organ instructor Paul Hesselink, will perform Messiaen's "Les Bergers" from "La Nativite Du Seigneur."

Jan Bigler, another student of Hesselinks, will perform Bach's "Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland." Doug Wilson, organist for Community Lutheran Church, will perform Andrew Carter's "Toccata on Veni Emmanuel," Dale Wood's "Christmas is Here" and "A Festive Encore on We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

The Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Guild of Organists also sponsors "Pipedreams" at 10 p.m. Sundays on KCNV 89.7.