Organic Joy

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Joyful and triumphant sounds will flow from the 4,322 pipes of the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ, as Pacific Symphony’s holiday festivities conclude with “Holiday Organ Spectacular,” featuring leading organist Todd Wilson, curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Cleveland’s Severance Hall.

Described as “a fabulous virtuoso with fleet feet, a prodigious memory and technique to burn” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wilson will e joined by soloist Lori Stinson (soprano) and Pacific Symphony musicians Mindy Ball (harp), Timothy Landauer (cello), Barry Perkins and Tony Ellis (trumpet), Keith Popejoy (horn), Michael Hoffman (trombone) and Jim Self (tuba), for an evening of beloved sacred and holiday music.

The concert will be Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $25-79; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

With the angelic chords of David Conte’s “Christmas Intrada,” the trumpet and soprano arrangement of Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim,” and traditional favorites “O Holy Night” and “Sleigh Ride,” the King of Instruments conveys the emotion and exuberance of the holiday season—along with audience sing-alongs that include such holiday gems as “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

This concert is the second for the Symphony’s new organ series, “Pedals and Pipes,” showcasing the $3.1-million organ created by C.B. Fisk.

“My primary goal for the ‘Holiday Organ Spectacular’ is to feature the magnificent new pipe organ in a wide variety of colorful and exciting music for the holiday season,” says Wilson.

“The organ, perhaps more than any other instrument, is able to convey the many emotions connected with holiday repertoire, from quiet contemplation to extroverted, joyous exuberance,” he said. “It is also the ideal instrument for leading a large audience in singing—something which always makes a thrilling communal experience!”

“I hope the audience will take away a sense of the joy, energy and kaleidoscopic variety created by the organ, brass, and our terrific collaboration of musicians,” Wilson continues. “The partnership of organ and brass is one of the happiest marriages in the musical universe, as the sounds are ideally matched in terms of volume, color and sustaining capabilities. Together, brass and organ create a spine-tingling sound, whether playing antiphonally or in combination.”

Regarded across America and around the world as one of today’s finest concert organists, Wilson serves as head of the organ department at The Cleveland Institute of Music and as the curator of the Cleveland Orchestra’s organ. He also serves as artist-in-residence at Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal), where he plays the Cathedral’s Flentrop organs, as house organist for the newly-restored Aeolian Organ at the Stan Hywet Home and Gardens in Akron, and he teaches at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Wilson has performed in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The concert’s soprano, Stinson, is a busy soloist throughout Southern California. She sang with the Angeles Chorale as a soloist in Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” and

Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis.”

Her recent operatic roles include Clothilde in “Norman and Myrtis,” a performance in Carlisle Floyd’s “Cold Sassy Tree” with San Diego Opera, and Fiordiligi in “Cosi Fan Tutte” with Opera San Luis Obispo in 2002. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Opera, South Bay Opera, Aspen and Utah Festival operas.

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