Free Organ Concert Series Returns Next Month

25 May 2009

It's that time of year again - the chill winds are blowing and snow is fast becoming a common fixture on the Tararuas. But there are some cosy comforts to look forward to, like the free concerts at the Town Hall arranged by City Organist, Douglas Mews.

Douglas is currently overseas, so a special guest organist, Martin Setchell, will kick off the free concerts on Sunday 14 June with 'Rule Britannia'. The concert will include music by English baroque composer Henry Purcell and Handel's overture to The Occasional Oratorio.

After a spell in Europe checking out a myriad of baroque instruments and playing the occasional organ recital, Douglas says he'll be full of inspiration and enthusiasm for his concerts on Sunday 9 August and 6 September.

"The first one is called 'Vive La France!' - which should give you an indication of the kind of tunes you'll hear, such as Gigout's Scherzo and Balbastre's variations on La Marseillaise," says Douglas.

This year's concerts will also feature young guest performers. Eighteen-year-old Tom Gaynor from the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), who is also Richard Prothero Organ Scholar at St Paul's Cathedral, will perform with Douglas for 'Vive La France!'

Another NZSM student and the Dean Organ Scholar at St Paul's Cathedral, 17-year-old Heather Easting, will play alongside the City Organist for 'Germania' on 6 September.

"Although they're used to public performance by now, playing at the Town Hall will be quite a thrill for the young organists," says Douglas.

"I'd also imagine that sitting in the Town Hall listening to Wagner's famous Ride of the Valkyries or JS Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G major will be a treat for anyone who comes along to 'Germania'. It'll make for a very atmospheric hour to break up a Sunday afternoon."

All organ recitals take place at 3.00pm, Sundays at the Town Hall. For dates and programme details, visit the Wellington Convention website or call the Council on (04) 499 4444.