Artists in Action: Esteemed organist to have recital at St. Michael’s
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Apr 27, 2012 | 3552 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the nave of Church of St. Michael and All Angels, there is a historical instrument that stands immediately behind the pulpit. Although only its green, hand-painted face pipes are original now, the organ can be likened to being the oldest active member of the church, one that “joined” in 1889.

With its repairs through the years it has since given tireless service. And this Sunday at 3 p.m., it will do so again, with a man of high caliber at the helm.

A recital given by a professor of music, a university organist, choirmaster and concert artist — all titles held by Dr. Robert Delcamp — will add a highlight in the musical realm for the church and the community. The public is invited, and, according to Dr. Patricia Corbin, the organist at St. Michael’s, it should be glorious event for all who are there.

Delcamp holds those four aforementioned titles at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. Under his direction, the university choir has made several recordings and 11 tours of England, including residencies at five cathedrals.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Dr. Delcamps’s caliber perform here,” Corbin said. “He is exceptionally gifted in this area, and so creative in using combinations of sounds to get the organ’s ultimate effect. It will be a rare treat.”

Antiphonal organ pipes were installed in the rear of the church recently for special musical effects. The installation was in honor of Louis Culver, now retired, who was the organist at St. Michael’s for more than 30 years.

“I’ll be interested in how he will make use of these,” Corbin commented.

The addition of the pipes was made possible by a member of the church, to the glory of God, according to church officials. The member wishes to remain anonymous.

As a concert artist, Delcamp has toured extensively throughout the United States as well as in England, Germany and Luxembourg. His recordings for the Naxos labels represent the compositions of well-known French composers including Camille Saint-Saens, Marcel Dupre, Alexandre Guilmant and Charles-Marie Widor. The St. Michael’s organ is well-suited for French-written music by these masters because of the proliferation of the reed stops, according to Delcamp. His program will contain works of a few French composers as well as those of other nationalities.

“All organs are different,” he said. “This one at St. Michael’s is a very complete one for a small church. It’s equipped to play most of the organ repertoire.”

The cornerstone of St. Michael’s was laid in 1888 and the church’s construction was completed in 1890, according to church records. “It’s an extraordinary church, historically and architecturally,” said Delcamp, who was the church’s guest organist in the mid -1980s and in 2005. “And, the set-up for performing music is good.”

“The organ is in great shape now,” said Corbin. ‘I’m just looking forward to sitting in the congregation and hearing wonderful music.”

Sunday’s audience will hear a blend of tones, both majestic and soothing. It is the type of color that only an organ can produce, according to Discovering Music, a text by Howard D. McKinney and W.R. Anderson. Delcamp, who knows this organ well, is making sure that the recital will be enlivening.

“It will be an eclectic program to show off the organ,” he said.

A reception in the Parish Hall will follow the recital.
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