Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An organ named Lucille? 'Spectacular ' instrument to star in fest opener

Yes, there's a world-renowned organ in Evanston, Ill., that's known affectionately (among organists) as Lucille. Just don't tell bluesman B.B. King, whose guitar goes by the same name.

Organist, composer, and Bach Week Festival music director Richard Webster explains:
"For the first time since 2003, the Bach Week Festival returns to St. Luke's Church, Evanston, where the festival was founded in 1974.

"The April 23 'Organ and Brass Spectacular' concert will be just that -- spectacular. With the gothic building's gloriously reverberant acoustics, and the restored 1922 Ernest M. Skinner organ thundering away, accompanied by some of Chicago's most distinguished brass players, this is a concert not to be missed.

"By all accounts, there is no organ quite like the St. Luke's instrument.

"Affectionately and universally known as 'Lucille,' this four-manual, 4,000-pipe instrument, housed in its three-story organ chamber, is one of the few extant and intact organs by the premier American organ builder of the 20th century -- Ernest Skinner.

"Though the organ has been recorded frequently since its complete restoration in 1998, Lucille's majesty and grandeur is something that must be experienced live. Few other organs in such an acoustically spectacular and architecturally splendid setting offer such spine-tingling moments.

"True to the festival's mission, the program will feature works of J.S. Bach, as well as the Midwest premiere of my Baroque Suite for Brass, Organ and Timpani, composed in 2003 with the St. Luke's organ in mind. Though the work was recorded at St. Luke's soon after it was written, it has never been heard live in the setting for which it was conceived. The work is featured on the recording Brass*Organ*Quires, available at "

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