Tuesday, June 27, 2017
St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church
This recital is sponsored by Raven Recordings.
Thomas Lee Bailey, Cheryl Van Ornam, organists;
George Pavelis, oboist; Christine Ertell, flautist;
Jennifer Piazza-Pick, soprano
Tom Bailey has enjoyed a 40 year career as a church musician and currently serves as Music Director at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Brook Hill, in Richmond. In 1993 he received an MDiv from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and is class steward. Learn more
Cheryl Van Ornam is the Traditional Music Director at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is also the organist at First Church of Christ Scientist in Richmond as well as staff accompanist in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Music. She holds the Master of Music in Organ Performance and Church Music from Northwestern University. Learn more
George Pavelis was raised in Falls Church, Virginia where he began studying the piano at age 6. He was introduced to the oboe in 6th grade, when the U.S. Army Band woodwind quintet visited his elementary school. His first teacher was Donald Hiltz, a member of the U.S. Air Force Band in Washington D.C. He then went on to study with Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Rudolf Vrbsky of the National Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with the Arlington Symphony, Washington Opera Orchestra, Washington Bach Chorale, and National Symphony Orchestra. Locally, Mr. Pavelis has performed with the Richmond Choral Society, Richmond Pops Band, the James River Singers, and the Williamsburg Choral Guild, among other groups. Mr. Pavelis’ other passion is chemistry, a subject which he has taught for 33 years, first at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, and currently at Atlee High School in Hanover County. He has one son, Aaron, and lives in Midlothian, Virginia with his wife Diane.
Christine Ertell’s career has spanned an opera orchestra and two symphony orchestras, including 26 years with the Richmond Symphony as second flute and member of the Richmond Symphony Woodwind Quintet (with whom she toured East Africa); decades with the Richmond Chamber Players; the Richmond Woodwind Quintet (with whom she toured Japan and Jamaica); scores of students; and decades of church and choral orchestral and solo performances. She is currently in that “careerseason” where she may choose her work, and enjoy it more than ever.
Christine maintains an active and invigorating teaching studio, a busy performance schedule, and a family life including her husband of 37 years, two grown sons, and a daughter-in-law. She is also, and unfortunately for her, slave to three moreorless domesticated felines. Her primary hobby is pining for more family vacations on Cape Cod. Christine is very pleased to have the honor of performing with her longtime musical associates Cheryl Van Ornam and George Pavelis, in this exciting AGO concert series.
Soprano Jennifer Piazza-Pick has been active in oratorio, concerts, choral music, and opera in the United States and Europe. She was a member of the House Chorus at the Nationaltheater Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany for five years, where she performed in over 50 different productions. She has also performed with Ithaca Opera, Long Beach Opera, Pacific Chorale, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Theater of Lucca, Opera Piccola of San Antonio, Alamo City Ballet, Pacific Chorale, San Antonio Chamber Choir, the Princeton Festival, the Dallas Choral Festival, the Virginia Chorale, Richmond Ballet, and the Oregon Bach Festival. An advocate of American music, Ms. Piazza-Pick has premiered works for many American composers, including 3 premieres for the Composers Alliance of San Antonio’s spring concert, featuring the poetry of San Antonio’s poet laureate, Camen Tafolla. Ms. Piazza-Pick is the winner of Hawaii Public Radio’s art song contest, the George Cortes Award for Classical Singing by the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and was a finalist for the American Prize in the women’s art song division. She is currently adjunct instructor of voice at Virginia State University and the University of Richmond, and she maintains a private studio.
2 manuals, 24 stops
Built in 1996. Relocated to St. Benedict in 2013.
Martin Pasi writes:
In 1993, we were commissioned to build a new organ for [Lola Wolf’s] home addition especially designed to house the instrument. The concept for our Opus 5…eventually developed into a 24-stop organ installed in a beautiful private recital hall with exemplary acoustics. Although situated in a private residence, Opus 5 enjoyed considerable exposure to the local, regional, and even national connoisseurs of organ music.
When it came time for the original owner to move out of the house and sell the organ, St. Benedict Church asked us to study the feasibility of moving the organ to its church building. The instrument promised to fit into the building as if it had been designed for it—as long as the rose window in the back gallery could be covered. When all was weighed in the balance, the proposal to acquire the organ won the day, and the instrument was purchased….
The wind is stored and regulated in a single wedge-shaped bellows measuring three feet by six feet. The bellows and blower are located inside the organ. This wind system imparts a gentle flexibility to the organ’s sound, allowing the pipes to sound more like a choir of human voices than an impassive machine….
The organ draws its tonal inspiration from the great northern European organs of the 17th and 18th centuries, leavening its resources with strings on both manuals and harmonic flutes, as well as a principal celeste in the manner of the Italian Voce humana—a voice appearing in several of our organs which we call “Suavial.” The original manual reeds were French but needed to be changed to German style to better suit the room acoustics in its original home.
In this final form, the organ is capable of rendering all of the major textures associated with classical traditions of liturgical organ playing. It is at the same time remarkably flexible in providing choral accompaniment and rendering 19th- and 20th-century organ literature. Even more important to me, however, is the hope that people will find beauty in the organ, and that it will inspire musicians to create new music for celebrations of the communities it serves.