Electrifying! That’s how the over 300+ people of the Organ Historical Society reacted when they leaped to their feet at the end of Joey Fala‘s performance at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Springfield, MA with a spontaneous and exuberant standing ovation. The kid from Hawaii blew everyone away, and even though it was the fifth concert of the day, you could feel the electricity in the air.
Believe me, this crowd does not do standing ovations automatically. In fact, this is only the second one which has happened in this convention, out of 13 concerts so far (the first was for Christopher Houlihan.)
In contrast to the earlier recitals in the day by Michael Plagerman, Larry Schipull, Gregory Crowell and Don VerKuilen, which were played on very small historic pipe organs in acoustically dead rooms, Joey’s recital took place in a large Catholic church with an extremely live reverberation. OHS Chairman of the Board, Bill Czelusniak’s enthusiastic introduction of Joey revved up the crowd. The Casavant organ (built in 1963) filled the large room.
Sinfonia from Cantata 29 (Bach)
Prelude from “Prelude, Fugue et Variation” (César Franck)
Hymn, “Alleluia, sing to Jesus” (Hyfrydol) – harmonization by Carl Crosier
Hyfrydol (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Miroir (Ad Wammes)
Te Deum, op. 11 (Jeanne Demessieux)
Every OHS recital must include a congregational hymn, and I was especially touched that Joey chose “Hyfrydol,” with the third verse harmonization by Carl Crosier (1945-2014), and listed it in the program. Carl would have been so pleased, and so proud of this young man and the journey he has taken to become a concert organist.
As Joey and I boarded the bus to go back to the hotel, everyone on the bus applauded! By far, his concert was one of the highlights of the conference (and I’m not saying so because I’m prejudiced!) and as he walked through the crowds at the hotel, person after person congratulated him on a fantastic performance.
Some people even asked him for his autograph, and said it would be worth something when he became rich and famous! He also got several invitations to play on upcoming concert series (Get him while he’s cheap!) Seriously, if your AGO chapter or church wants to book him for a concert, contact him through email.
Here is the video I took with my camera at the singing of “Hyfrydol.”