Diversity adds to harmony of ‘Organ Fest IV’


Utahns will have the opportunity to listen to a classical instrument this weekend in celebration of its unique sound.

Organ Fest IV features organists from the Salt Lake Tabernacle, including Richard Elliott, Clay Christiansen, Andrew Unsworth, Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts. These five will join with Douglas O’Neill, Cathedral of the Madeleine organist, in a free performance Friday at 8 p.m. at The Cathedral of the Madeleine, 331 E. South Temple in Salt Lake City.

“The organ at the cathedral has a thrilling and beautiful sound and the acoustics are breathtaking,” Elliott said. “The Tabernacle organists and Mormon Tabernacle Choir have enjoyed a long and happy association with the cathedral’s clergy and staff and its world-class music program, and we appreciate their generosity in making the cathedral available for this annual event.”

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of The Cathedral of the Madeleine ” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Organ Loft at The Cathedral of the Madeleine. Organists featured in Organ Fest IV will share their talents in the historic cathedral Aug. 12.
Elliott went on to describe what the audience may expect from this year’s performance.

“One of the great things about the Organ Fest is the tremendous variety in the programming,” Elliott said in an email. “With six different organists and nine selections on the program, it’s a veritable smorgasbord. This year’s program includes a number of greatest hits for the organ such as ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,’ ‘The Toccata’ by Eugene Gigout, ‘Thou Art the Rock’ by Henri Mulet and the perennial favorite, Bach’s ‘Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.’ ”

Christine Nokleby, Classical89 marketing manager, said the venue is the perfect choice for the concert.

“The cathedral really is the ideal setting,” Nokleby said.  “The organ is one of the best in the country.”

The organ is housed in a loft and the pipes are visible, but not the performer. Nokleby said organists have commented they feel a part of  the instrument when playing it.

“People love to come not only for the beauty of the cathedral, but also for the sound of the organ and who’s playing it,” Nokleby said.

The Cathedral of the Madeleine was completed in 1909. According to the cathedral’s website, the exterior is substantially the same as it was in 1909 except for the addition of a tympanum over the main doors and the double flight of steps leading to the main entrance. The cathedral is described as having a predominantly Romanesque exterior with a Gothic interior.

A recent news release described the concert as a gift to the community from Classical89, The Cathedral of the Madeleine and the organists.

“Pipe organs can symbolize the collective voice of a community,” said Marcus Smith, general manager of Classical89.  “Organ Fest brings our community together in support of pipe organs. What a wonderful way to spend an evening, together with other lovers of organ music. Each Organ Fest reminds me not only that this music is one of the most elegant and compelling art forms, but that I’m hardly alone in the enjoyment of it.”

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