Organ recital kicks off church concert series in Mt. Lebanon
The ninth season of St. Paul’s Episcopal Friends of Music Guild’s concert series kicks off Sept. 17 with its traditional opener: an organ recital.
Joining Doug Starr, director of music and arts at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon, are guests Aaron Sproul from St. Bernard Church; Cynthia Pock, Pittsburgh’s First Lutheran; David Schaap, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral; and Nicholas Will, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
The recital starts at 4 p.m. at the church, 1066 Washington Road. Each organist will play 10 to 15 minutes of his or her favorite selections on St. Paul’s Schantz organ, which features 64 ranks of pipes.
Starr said that his performance will feature music by English composers Henry Purcell (1659-95), whom the Episcopal Church honors with a July 28 feast day along with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel, and Herbert Howells (1892-1981), who among his many other works wrote “Behold O God our Defender” for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Further concerts are scheduled once a month through May, drawing from a variety of instrumentation and musical styles in what has become a successful series.
“It’s getting to the point now where people contact us who want to be in this, rather than us going out after them,” Starr, who oversees the series, said.
He also will perform Feb. 28 during a new series within the series of 12:30 p.m. Lenten recitals. Richard Konzen of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Youngstown, a former St. Paul’s music director, is scheduled for Feb. 21, and Nicholas Will returns March 7.
The Nov. 12 program features pianist Christin Cooper, who joined St. Paul’s staff this month as assistant music director for children. The Lancaster County native said she is looking forward to working in her new location.
“Pittsburgh has a really great reputation in the arts,” she said. “I have known a few musicians who are based out of Pittsburgh, piano teachers and freelance musicians here, and they’ve always had great things to say about the city.”
She will be joined at the 4 p.m. concert by coloratura soprano Mia Bonnewell, a professional cantor for several churches and Cooper’s fellow alumna of Bucknell University’s music program.
Other concerts in the series:
• Duo Cortado, 4 p.m. Oct. 15. Guitarists Andy Jurik and Devin Sherman present a program featuring new works for two guitars by several composers, including the premiere of Thomas Dempster’s “twine.”
• Alexandra Thompson, 4 p.m. Dec. 10. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra cellist, who attended St. Paul while growing up, will perform an assortment of classical works and holiday favorites.
• Chamber Music Concert, 4 p.m. Jan. 21. Thompson returns with fellow orchestra members Carolyn Edwards, violin, and Anne Carper Smith, organist at Bower Hill Community Church in Mt. Lebanon.
• Mike’s Episcopal Café, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17. The music ministry’s annual fundraiser has the theme “A Feat Down Under” and features Australian cuisine along with performances to be announced.
• Olga Redkina and Friends, 4 p.m. March 11. The cellist’s concert will be Skyped to her international roster of students.
• Mt. Lebanon High School Choir Masterworks Concert, 7:30 p.m. April 4. Ethan LaPlaca will direct the high school’s concert choir, chamber choir, triple trio and men’s ensemble.
• Phil Solomon and Friends, 4 p.m. May 20, specializing in steel percussion.