Dean’s Message April 2023

How wonderful it must have been to hear Mendelssohn’s performance of the organ works of J. S. Bach at Thomas Kirche, Leipzig in 1840. By then, he was a well-traveled, acclaimed composer and performer, a leading organ virtuoso of his time, and a musician with a mission. As he wrote to Fanny while in Paris in 1825:

“You say I should try and convert the people here and teach Onslow and Reicha to love . . . Bach. That is just what I am endeavoring to do. But remember, my dear child, that these people . . . believe Bach to be a mere old-fashioned wig stuffed with learning. The other day, at the request of Kalkbrenner, I played the organ preludes in E minor and A minor. My audience pronounced them both ‘wonderfully pretty,’ and one of them remarked that the beginning of the A minor was very much like a favorite duet in an opera by Monsigny. Anybody might have knocked me down with a feather.”

Fast forward to our March program, “Bach Rediscovered” at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. We were once again captivated by Mendelssohn’s zeal for Bach by his exquisite programming. I joined Emma Kelly, Sheila Bristow, Michael Plagerman and Wyatt Smith performing pieces chosen by Mendelssohn and placed in perfect order like a flight of the finest wines. Kudos to all for your artistry! Thank you, also to Jan Regier, and Sandy and Dick Tietjen for the elegant reception, to Michael Menne for his CD giveaway, and to St. Andrew’s, Naomi Shiga, and Jonathan Wohlers for their gracious hospitality. It was a truly memorable evening for all!

There is no chapter meeting in April, mindful that preparations for Holy Week and Easter are quickly coming to a peak. May our work be a blessing, and some rest and renewal follow.

Looking ahead, save the date for our field trip to Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle, on May 8th at 7:00pm. Organist Christian Elliott will accompany the comedy, Exit Smiling (1926). It has become a chapter tradition to meet at the Tacoma Dome to travel by public transportation to Seattle. Group travel plans are posted in the calendar listing.



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