Last Sunday evening, February 4, the church enjoyed a concert celebrating the restoration of our 1907 Viner and Son's organ. The program featured a selection of music that had significance in the history of the organ and the church. For example, Handel's "Arioso", the basis of the hymn "Thanks be to Thee", was played at the first recital after the installation of the organ in 1907. Alden also picked some music with broader historical significance such as "Hymn to Joy" by Beethoven which is the basis of the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" written in 1907. The concert ended with 100+ people in attendance joining in a hymn sing led by Alden on the organ.
The organists for the evening were ALDEN SNELL, who is the organist of Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and DAVID CARMER, who is the organist of Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina, New York. The special relationship between David and Alden began years ago when David was the organist of the church where Alden's father was pastor. David recognized Alden's interest in the organ and even at a very young age ( about 4th grade) allowed him to help with organ pieces at the church.
You can listen to the concert at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNuvC0WcT28&t=873s
During the concert, Alden took a couple of minutes to describe the work that Parsons Organ Builders did in 2023, as well as other work done on the organ over the years. After the concert, he described more fully the details of the restoration while answering many questions and demonstrating the new capabilities of the instrument.
An article was published about the organ in the Genesee Valley Penny Saver, that discusses some of the history, current restoration, and the upcoming concert series.
The concert was followed by a reception with cookies and cake in the fellowship hall. A special part of the evening was Fred Ely cutting the cake. Fred, a member of the Organ Restoration Committee, has been involved with the promotion and maintenance of the organ over the years. I have often heard Alden tell stories of Fred climbing into the organ on a Sunday morning to fix a cipher that had developed during the week.
This is the first of five concerts that are planned for this spring at the church:
March 10 - Roberts Wesleyan Brass Quintet
April 14 - Jaclyn Breeze, flute
April 27 - George Collichio, guitar
May 5 - Students from the Eastman School of Music
See https://www.epcbergen.org/events24 for more information about the concert series.