David A. Gross, 67, died peacefully at Reading Hospital, on December 5, 2019. He had dealt with cancer and its complications for most of his last year. He was the son of the late Charles W. Gross Sr. and Sarah Houck Gross, of Earlville. He was born on February 25, 1952, attended Daniel Boone High School and graduated from Lebanon Valley College in 1975, majoring in music with a concentration in organ. He was a student of the late Pierce Getz. While still in high school he began to serve various Berks County churches as organist, concluding as director of music at First Reformed UCC in Reading. He was also a talented and recognized concert organist. For the twelve years before his death, he was employed by the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, Wernersville, as spiritual director, director of music, and manager of the bookstore. A memorial service will be held in the main chapel of The Jesuit Center, at 2 PM on Sunday, January 19, 2020. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, 501 N. Church St., Wernersville PA, 19565, or the Organ Historical Society, 330 N. Spring Mill Rd., Villanova PA, 19085
[LNP] June Ellen Lykens Lantz, 84, of Lancaster, passed into the loving arms of her Father in Heaven on September 24, 2019. Born in Reading, PA, she was the daughter of the late Rev. Paul and Anna Lykens and the loving wife of Rev. W. Frank Lantz.
June was an incredibly talented musician. With perfect pitch, she could read music before she could read words. June began playing the organ in church services when she was only 10 years old. She was the organist and choir director in many churches in Dayton, OH, Frackville, and Lancaster areas. For the past 14 years, she shared her talents with the congregation of Hempfield Church of the Brethren. June's love of music, both instrumental and vocal, sustained her warm and joyous spirit all through her wonderful life. Those who served under her direction will remember the demands she set on performance. June was involved in the American Guild of Organists, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, National Education Association, and the National Association for Music Education. She was also a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in East Petersburg.
A musical Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 10:30am at Lititz Church of the Brethren, 300 W. Orange St., Lititz, PA 17543. Guests will be received prior to the service, starting at 9:30am. Read the full announcement at LNP here.
On October 20, organist Stephen Williams performed a recital at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster City. Mr. Williams is Canon for Music Ministries and the Performing Arts at Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, PA where he conducts the choral program, is primary organist for Cathedral and Diocesan liturgies and events and administers the Cathedral Arts series of musical offerings. With study and degrees in organ performance and church music studies from Brevard College, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, The Juilliard School, and West Chester University, Stephen has had the good fortune to study with artists Marilyn Keiser, Donald McDonald, Jon Gillock, Gillian Weir, Stefan Engels, and Tom Hazleton. Stephen has been guest artist on a number of organ recital series and has appeared as concerto soloist with the Allentown Symphony, Monocacy Chamber Orchestra and SATORI Chamber Ensemble, and as organ soloist with ensembles such as the Philadelphia Brass, Allentown Band, and Hill-to-Hill Brass Quintet. Not a stranger to major projects, amongst his favorite accomplishments are performances of the six symphonies of Louis Vierne, the complete organ works of Johannes Brahms, and the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Listen to excerpts from the concert...
(These are non-streaming WAV files - give them a minute to download after you click on the link - then your media player should automatically play them. Program notes by Mr. Williams.)
Lefébrve-Wely was a prodigy who at age 11 took over for his failing father as organist at Saint-Roch in Paris, and was then named titular organist at age 14. Bit of interesting trivia is that he played for the funeral of Frédéric Chopin in 1849. BUT, one does hope he didn't play THIS piece that reflects his dazzling improvisation skill that showed off the brand new Cavaille-Coll organs in a style that Parisians of the time understood and enjoyed - ballets, l'Opéra-Comique, and generally the good life. He was well-known for often sneaking familiar opera tunes from the night before into his Sunday offertories, perhaps overdoing just a bit the idea of bringing a sense of recognition, enjoyment, and frivoloity for these occasions!
Guy Bovet is organist at the Collegiate Church in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His incredibly creative improvisations are well-known. In fact, this piece began life as an improvisation and is dedicated to the caretakers of the Cathedral of Salamanca who sang the tune to Mr. Bovet as a theme for a concert-ending improvisation. The caretakes said that the text of the tune was about a burro (donkey).
Iain Farrington is a young British pianist, organist, composer, and arranger whose extraordinary gifts have propelled him into a world of performing regularly with leading artists in England, writing regularly for the BBC Orchestra, and writing film scores. This particular piece was composed in February of 2017, and explores a 'gospel side' in which he seems strangely and uniquely comfortable considering his rather classical upbringing and study.
Louis Vierne was organist at Notre-Dame Paris from 1900 until he died at the organ console at the end of a performance in 1937. Within his music, the six symphonies in particular, one finds an incredible range of moods from giddy joy to a most intense melancholy. But, for me, this piece remains a mystery in that I absolutely love it, but cannot put my finger on where it comes from, what would have inspired it, or what is being said. Maybe YOU can figure it out? Or maybe it doesn't matter. What I do know is that for all its delight, it's definitely one of the most challenging pieces ever, particularly when the B-Major scale gets going. Whew!
On September 15, we held our first chapter event of the 2019-20 season, an indoor member picnic and community hymn sing. Various members supplied a delicious potluck meal, and Karl Moyer provided a cake decorated for the occasion. Reverend Bob Kettering, the chapter's chaplain, installed new board members (from right to left in image 6): Frank Dodd, dean; Greg Gehman, sub-dean; John Kracker, member at large; and secretary Jenny Fritsch. The picnic and hymn sing were hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church in Mount Joy, and the hymn sing was well-attended with robust singing. The chapter extends a big "thank you" to Trinity Church's music director, Joy Ide, for her hard work organizing the event! (Mouse over the image to get slide show controls.)
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