Celebrate the Season with the King Of Instruments! Popular Christmas Carols Mingle with Organ Works for “Holiday Organ Spectacular”
Christmas melodies majestically reverberate from the mighty pipes of the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ during Pacific Symphony’s “Holiday Organ Spectacular,” an annual tradition that envelops the audience with joyous sounds and musical splendor. The magnificent color, beauty and versatility of the organ is showcased in partnership with solo instruments to bring out the best of treasured holiday classics. Returning organist Todd Wilson, “a fabulous virtuoso with fleet feet, a prodigious memory and technique to burn” (The Plain Dealer), is curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Severance Hall and regarded around the world as one of the finest concert organists today. Symphony principal musicians Benjamin Smolen, flute; Jessica Pearlman Fields, oboe; Timothy Landauer, cello; Barry Perkins, trumpet and Mindy Ball, harp, as well as percussionist Kenneth McGrath join Wilson in an exciting mix of popular Christmas carols.
Taking place on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m., this concert launches the 2015-16 Pedals and Pipes series, which spotlights the $3.1 million concert organ created by C.B. Fisk—the visual focal point of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The Laguna Flutes add to the festivities with a performance in the lobby beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets at $15-$75, call (714) 755-5799 or Click Here.
“The William J. Gillespie Concert Organ is an instrument of almost limitless possibilities,” says Wilson. “The grandeur, warmth and beauty of its tonal palette enable this great organ to convey the many colors and emotions of the holiday season with maximum effect. We have a wonderfully varied musical menu for this year’s concert. I really look forward to all of it, but some pieces I’m particularly excited about are the new and colorful arrangements we’ll have for beloved holiday favorites such as ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas,’ ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy.’ We have a beautiful piece for harp and organ called ‘Fantasia on the Coventry Carol.’ And I’ll be playing the famous Toccata by Charles-Marie Widor—and playing that piece on the Gillespie program also includes “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “The First Noel,” “Greensleeves,” “Nöel No. 10: Gran Jeu et Duo,” “Ave Maria,” “Sussex Carol,” “I Saw Three Ships,” “The Christmas Song” and “O Holy Night.” To wrap up the evening, the audience is invited to participate in a holiday sing-along of “Deck the Halls,” “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.”
“You have fabulous players in Pacific Symphony, and it’s always a real pleasure to collaborate with them. With flute, oboe, cello, trumpet and harp in this year’s line-up, we’ll have a wide array of instrumental solos and combinations. Every player is a superb solo performer, and the various instruments sound almost like ‘living extensions’ of the color possibilities of the Gillespie organ."