The music and ancient melodies of a century-old pipe organ will soon spring to life, in the skilled hands of Andrew Henderson.
The Thorold native and world-renowned organist is making a Niagara appearance, teaming up with soprano Jocelyn Fralick for a live performance at Knox Presbyterian Church on July 17.
Currently serving as director of music and organist at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City and chair of the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music, Henderson has played for audiences across the globe, while Fralick has performed with Chorus Niagara and Chorus Hamilton, among others.
The July 17 “dynamic duo” concert will showcase their combined talent, while commemorating the 100th birthday of the Casavant Frères pipe organ.
Set to start at 7:30 p.m., the program will also feature colourful works performed at the Casavant organ dedication and rededication events in 1919 and 1949, as well as from the previous pipe organ's dedication recital in 1888.
According to the church’s website, the installation of the Casavant pipe organ signified a turning point—not only in the church—but in the city of St. Catharines as well.
“The original aboriginal population, whose tracks through the forested land still shape our city, were joined by loyalists who settled here after the American War of Independence,” the site states. “Soon British troops showed up to fend off the expansionist designs of the Great Republic to the South. Thereafter, these troops were given land-grants by the government. Soon joined by early nineteenth century British immigrants, some of whom were Scottish and Irish Presbyterians, Knox Church was officially formed in 1841. Knox grew from those British roots. A new sanctuary that we still occupy was opened in 1860, while later in the nineteenth century, as a sign that St. Catharines was becoming a city of note, a Casavant pipe organ was built in the sanctuary, and a choir formed. In the course of the twentieth century, the sanctuary’s plain windows were replaced by beautiful stained glass.”
Founded in 1879 in Quebec, the Casavant Frères company is one of the best known and most respected pipe organ manufacturers in the world.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at Henderson's Pharmacy, 15 Front St. South, Thorold, or by calling the church office at 905-641-8868. Tickets cost $20 per person and $5 for students—with proof of student I.D. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Knox Presbyterian Church is located at 53 Church Street in St. Catharines.