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07/23/2009

Winthrop to Celebrate Organ Restoration with August Festival

Quick Facts

 The festival will include four free public concerts Aug. 13-16.
 The D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ was installed in Byrnes Auditorium 54 years ago.

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - The Department of Music and the Organ Restoration Campaign will host the Organ Festival, a series of workshops, lectures and concerts, Aug. 13-16 to commemorate the restoration of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ.

Anchoring the festival will be a series of three free public concerts Aug. 13, Aug. 14 and Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Byrnes Auditorium. Kicking off the performance lineup will be a Thursday, Aug. 13, performance by several Winthrop alumni organ majors. Noted organist and recording/concert artist Richard Elliott, principal organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will perform on Friday, Aug. 14. Robert Ridgell, associate organist of New York’s Trinity Episcopal Church, will perform a recital on Sunday, Aug. 16. The program will feature work composed by Winthrop music faculty member Leonard Mark Lewis. On Saturday, Aug. 15, Winthrop’s Professor Emeritus of Music David Lowry, curator of the restoration campaign, will play a concert of music written by and for him at 2 p.m. in Byrnes Auditorium. The Saturday concert also is free and open to the public. 

Ridgell will host a workshop on improvisation on Friday afternoon and Elliott will offer a masterclass on Saturday morning, said Lowry. Registration for masterclasses, lectures and meals must be received by Saturday, Aug. 1.

An Æolian-Skinner organ installed in 1955 in Byrnes Auditorium, the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ was sent to the Letourneau Organ Company in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, in May 2007 for a complete restoration. The organ, now 54 years old, is considered one of the most historic instruments in the Southeast.

For more information about the Organ Festival, contact Department of Music Chair Don Rogers ’75 at 803/323-2255 or e-mail Lowry at lowryd@winthrop.edu.


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