It was nine years ago that I recommended to the local American Guild of Organists Executive Board that we bring Paul Jacobs, the youngest head of the Juilliard School Organ Department, to Hawaii to give a recital. I had heard him play several times, but it was his performance in New York at the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians conference that got me so excited about the possibility of bringing him to Hawaii.
At that time, it was truly a “Leap of Faith” for our small chapter to bring a national artist which meant that we would have to raise a lot of money for his fee and travel expenses. To afford as many people as possible to attend the concert, we would advertise the concert as “free,” but would encourage and welcome donations. I was convinced that Paul’s virtuosic playing would motivate people to “just throw money!” And that they did, not only covering our expenses, but also giving us a small cushion to present the concerts annually. We would try to bring young artists who were yet undiscovered, and so over the past nine years, we have heard several of Paul’s students: Chelsea Chen, Christopher Houlihan and Isabelle Demers, in addition to Aaron David Miller, Namhee Han and Nathan Laube. Ken Cowan came to kick off the John McCreary Concert Fund to ensure the financial support and continuation of this series. Do you remember that Governor Neil Abercrombie came to the concert and leaped to his feet, saying he would donate $500?
This year we will host Michael Crisostomo Hey, another of Paul Jacobs’ outstanding students, who will present a concert at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Sunday, March 9th at 3 pm. “Flashy and exciting” are just two of the words used to describe his performance of Jean Guillou’s technically demanding “Toccata” at the 2012 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Nashville, TN.
Currently in the Masters program at the Juilliard School studying under Paul Jacobs, Mr. Hey is a full-tuition recipient of the Alice Tully, the Bidu Sayao, the Noble Foundation, and the Juilliard Organ scholarships. He presently serves as Assistant Organist at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and is under great demand by numerous chamber ensembles in the New York area. He will perform masterworks of Bach, Ives, and Reger as well as his own transcriptions of works by Smetana, Shostakovich and the delightful “Children’s Corner” of Claude Debussy.
The concert is free and a calabash offering will be received. More information may be found at www.agohawaii.org or by calling Karl Bachman at 721-3468.