Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival

Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival

By Vaughn Mauren

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival and the second year the competition will be held at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford.

We have an exciting weekend planned, beginning with our high school division repertoire competition on Friday, September 29 from 9am-12noon at Trinity Chapel. That same day at 7:30pm, we will present an opening concert at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, honoring the memory of our beloved founder and former artistic director, David Spicer, and former treasurer, Bob Clement, with performances by organists Diane Meredith Belcher, David Hurd and Christian Lane. The concert will also feature the Fauré Requiem, conducted by Gabriel Löfvall with Chorus Angelicus, Gaudeamus, and the Cathedral Schola Cantorum, in memory of David Spicer.

Our young professional competition will be held on Saturday morning, September 30, from 9am-12noon at Trinity Chapel. That same day at 7:30pm, Colin MacKnight and Katherine Johnson – winners of the 2016 high school and young professional divisions – will return to share a full length recital at St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford.

Many of you will have already spent the morning of Sunday, October 1, in church, but I would especially like to invite you to join us at 12:30pm at Trinity Chapel for the inaugural ASOF Hartford Closing Eucharist and Hymn Playing Competition.

The Rev. Allison Read, Trinity College Chaplain, John Rose and Christopher Houlihan, have graciously invited us to join them during their regularly scheduled Sunday service and celebrate the work of young organists by affording them the opportunity to play assigned hymns with a singing congregation. Finalists will then be eligible to win the David Spicer Hymn Playing Prize in their respective divisions.

In addition to this exciting change, the combined treble choristers of St. James’s and St. John’s Episcopal Churches will join with the Trinity College Chapel Singers in presenting the world premiere of Philip Stopford’s Psalm 150 for SATB choir and organ. The anthem was commissioned by the Board of Directors of ASOF Hartford, in honor of David Spicer.

I do hope that you will join us for some or all of these events, which are entirely free and open to the public. Further information may be found at our new website, www.asofhartford.org.
Finally, we are ever grateful for the continued support of the Greater Hartford Chapter and the Marjorie Jolidon Fund. In addition to a donation in honor of David Spicer by the Chapter’s Executive Board, the Jolidon Committee voted to sponsor the $5,000 First Prize for the 2017 young professional division competition. This gift has provided a lifeline to the festival in a year of significant transition, and I would like to personally thank members of the Jolidon Committee for identifying the importance of what we do and so generously making it possible.