Upcoming Organ Recital Makes “Note” of the Reformation


On Sunday, October 22nd at 3 P.M., Dr. Bill Wharton, Organist, will perform in a recital demonstrating the musical influences of the Reformation.  The featured instrument for this program will be the Memorial Pipe Organ of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Easton. This October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses of protest of religious practices on the door of his church in Wittenberg, Germany which helped to bring about many changes in the Christian religion and especially its music.

Dr. Bill’s hour long program will present a survey of numerous styles and developments of organ literature that evolved out of the huge library of Lutheran “chorales” or hymns.  He will be assisted by Gail Aveson, soprano, Marcia Fidis, pianist, and Penny Renoll, St. Mark’s Music Director.  This season marks Bill Wharton’s 50 year tenure as St. Mark’s Organist!

The Memorial Pipe Organ of St. Mark’s is a unique instrument on the Shore;  besides being one of the largest pipe organs locally with some 2,437 pipes, it contains an “antiphonal” division of pipes located in the opposite end of the church from the more traditional chancel divisions in the front.  Its pipes range from mere inches in length to some sixteen feet of metal and wood pipes.  Since the organ was first installed in 1961, several ranks of reed pipes have been added, including a stop named “Tates’ Tuba” in memory of local plumber and businessman, C. Albert Matthews.  The organ will also be used in the playing of duets with the church’s Steinway grand piano demonstrating various Reformation tunes.

The music to be played will include works by J.S. Bach, such as his famous “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, “Sleepers Awake! (Wachet Auf)”, and “Now Thank We All Our God (Nun Danket)”.  Some of the other composers represented include Karg-Elert, Mendelssohn, Bennett, Martin, and Pelz.The audience will also be able to participate with the singing of some of the most familiar Lutheran chorales.  The concert will end with an organ  transcription of the finale of Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony No. 5 which solos Martin Luther’s famous “A Mighty Fortress (EinFeste Berg)”.While there is no fee for admission to this event, a free-will offering can be given to help with the expenses of the St. Mark’s concert series.

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