As you can guess, I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks, with my husband’s illness and hospitalization, his death, the funeral, and the aftermath. So it is only now that I’m able to share my excitement about the New York City American Guild of Organists opening concert which took place on September 8, 2014.
I actually received an invitation to this event through FaceBook, and my first reaction was, why is there a picture of McNeil Robinson with Joey Fala? As I read further, this was a description of the event:
The evening begins with a recital at 5:30 PM on the magnificent 4-manual Casavant Frères instrument (2005) by Joey Fala, winner of the Chapter’s 2013 organ playing competition.
The second part of the evening will take the form of a champagne reception honoring the life and career of McNeil Robinson. Regarded as legend in his own time, McNeil has been one of New York’s most visible musicians for over fifty years. Stephen Tharp will lead the ceremonies.
The people that put this event together probably didn’t know that the link between the two organists was the Crosiers! Yes, it was McNeil Robinson who came to Hawaii in 1975 to dedicate the Beckerath organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and it was he with whom I took about 20 hours of lessons on how to play a tracker organ. He came back two years later in 1977 to do a concert series: an all-Bach recital at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, followed the next weekend by an all-Franck recital at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Neil stayed a third weekend — and that was to play the organ at our wedding on July 15th, 1977.
And it was my former organ student, Joey Fala, who as a fifth grader, came to hear me practice every week before Iolani School’s chapel service, and whose journey to play the organ is still continuing. Go back and read my post, “[Screams of Delight]”, on my excitement over his winning the New York City chapter’s competition. On the September 8th program, Joey played works by William Mathias, Keith Chapman, J. S. Bach, Louis Vierne, Max Reger and Jeanne Demessieux.
I’m happy to be able to post the live videostream of Joey’s concert, which you can view by clicking here. Thanks to Wyatt Smith, who gave me the heads up on the live videostream. You can be sure that we are popping our buttons with pride over our hometown hero!
Be sure to watch the closing piece by Jeanne Demessieux — you will be blown away, as I was!