On Sunday, November 2, 2008, I celebrated twenty-five years as Director of Music at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ, in Cleveland, Ohio. I began there (as Interim Director) on November 1, 1983. During that time I have survived three permanent ministers, at least that many interim ministers, associate pastors, directors of Christian Education, secretaries, and custodians. What better way to celebrate than to give a recital? You can download the program. (PDF). (Audio samples forthcoming)
The church publicity committee did a good job of getting the word out, and there were between 75 and 100 people present, including a fair number that I didn’t recognize, and some friends whom I would not have expected to see.
I am never fully satisfied with my own playing, but it went reasonably well. There are always things to improve. George turned pages for me and pulled stops in several of the pieces, especially the Messiaen “Apparition”. It is (I think) more nerve-wracking to turn pages and pull stops than it is to perform. But he was very confident and things came off without a hitch.
After the concert there was a lovely reception in the church parlor, with spoken tributes by several people. I am pleased to say that the church is taking up an “anniversary collection” on my behalf that will be used for scholarships for persons wishing to study organ. It is a wonderful idea–much better than a gift to me; I have more than enough of my own. The church also commissioned a quite amusing iron sculpture that is a caricature of me playing the organ and conducting at the same time. Everyone should have a statue! I may not have an Oscar, but I still have a statue.