Witches, warlocks, vampires, ghosts, demons and more populated the venerable pews of St. John’s, Shaughnessy (SJS) the evening of October 25, 2019 for the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) 14th Annual Vancouver Hallowe’en Concert.
The default venue for this event is the majestically cavernous St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver, however that building is in the midst of a major renovation, therefore neither the nave for the audience or the organ for the artists was available for 2019.
Not a problem, as the 1968 Hallman Organ at St. John’s, Shaughnessy has just undergone a major rejuvenation and update. The beautifully reconditioned and remodeled four manual console took centre stage in the choir section of the chancel surrounded by seasonal decorations: spiders, scary statues and of course a large jack o’ lantern.
The 2019 event was organized by Michael Dirk, organist and director of music at SJS and Angelique Po, organist and director of music at Vancouver’s Central Presbyterian church. RCCO advisors for the event were Sam Balden and Rachel Alflatt and they were supported by: technical expert, Steve Miller; organ tuner and technician, Marianne Huestis; promotions point person and organist, Tama Genossar; the staff of SJS; a cadre of volunteers staffing the donation and program distribution stations; and of course the volunteer performers.
The good-sized audience were treated to a great programme of well-known organ favourites: Johann Sebastian Bach’s, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BMW 565 and Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 533; Felix Mendelssohn’s, Prelude in C Minor, Op. 37 no. 1; Edvard Grieg’s iconic Death of Ase and In the Hall of the Mountain King, from Peer Gynt; H. Clough-Leighter’s arrangement of Chopin’s Marche Funebre from Piano Sonata No. 2; John Pals performed his arrangement of Stéphane Delplace’s, Prelude and Fugue on a Theme by Henry Mancini; Hector Berlioz’ March to the Scaffold, from Symphonie Fantastique; Josef Rheinberger’s Scherzoso, from Sonata No. 8; Theodor Kullak’s, Witches Dance; Léon Boëllmann’s Introduction-Choral and Toccata, from Suite Gothic and a stellar encore of organ and percussion interpretations of music from Star Wars.
The RCCO regularly stages an impressive line-up of local events. Visit the website for more information.