Extraordinary. That’s the only way I can describe this whirlwind weekend with 24-year-old concert organist, Nathan Laube, here in Hawaii on spring break from his studies at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, Germany. From the time we picked Nathan up from his flight from Boston, where he had just given a concert at Harvard Memorial Chapel, to our last dinner before taking him back to the airport on his return to Chicago, I have been absolutely overwhelmed with Nathan’s extraordinary talent, knowledge, musicianship and genius — but most of all, his friendship!
The Executive Board of the Hawaii Chapter, American Guild of Organists, hosted Nathan in a private reception on the evening prior to the concert. It was an opportunity for us to get to know Nathan, and his incredible journey to becoming an organist. I have posted an album of the evening’s photos plus other pictures of Nathan’s visit to Hawaii which you can view here.
Here is the spectacular program he played at Central Union Church on Sunday afternoon, March 10th (with essentially only 2 days to set hundreds of piston changes and to practice on the four-manual Aeolian-Skinner organ):
Symphonie in f-mineur, op. 42, no. 5: Allegro vivace (Charles-Marie Widor)
Fantasy for mechanical organ in f, K.594 (Wolfgang A. Mozart)
Passacaglia, BWV 582 (J. S. Bach)
Variations sérieuses, op. 54 (Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy)
Sonata for Organ in C-minor—94th Psalm (Julius Reubke)
Thanks to the three cameras and masterful mixing of video by Glenn Yoshida, everyone who attended the concert had an “up-close and personal” view of this extraordinary young talent. Our fears of the rainy weather keeping people away from the concert turned out to be groundless as we had an excellent turnout and a generous offering. This was an enormously satisfying concert in so many respects, and we must thank the tireless efforts of the AGO Executive Board (and especially AGO Dean Karl Bachman) for making this concert possible.
We had several of our neighbor island AGO members who came to the concert in addition to a surprise visit by Ruth Peck (Nathan’s musical mentor who first encouraged him to play in church at age 10 or 11) who came from Illinois with her husband, Bob to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary — and to see Nathan, of course.
At our last dinner together, Nathan turned to everyone at the table and said, “There’s one person missing here — and that’s Joey Fala” (my former organ student now living in NY who met Nathan on the East Coast two years ago and who will get together with him for some coaching this summer.)
As he wrote on a picture I posted to FaceBook, Nathan said that he “spent most of my time at the console! All of this is simply to say that I must go back soon and have the true Hawaiian experience! That is also to say that it was a fabulous first ‘tasting’ —and everyone’s warm welcome and enthusiasm was incredible!” And wouldn’t you know it, today is an absolutely gorgeous day in Hawaii — sorry you missed the sun, Nathan!
Yes, I did take Nathan to try out the Beckerath organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and he proclaimed it “elegant” and “a gem,” an organ at which he’d like to spend more time.
Nathan, you will be most welcome to return to Hawaii anytime!