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This virtual event begins on the St. John’s Facebook Live page with a demonstration of the new console for our historic 1894 Hook & Hastings organ, and an introduction to the music by Peter Berton, on our Facebook page.
Then, we invite the audience to view a special pre-recorded Facebook video premiere of Hereford Variations, including members of the St. John’s Adult Choir and Choristers from The Choir School of Newport County singing movements recorded at St. John’s and at Hereford Cathedral, England, the stained glass windows of which Variations is named for. The video also includes a “virtual choir” assembled for the finale.
Following the performance, a virtual reception will be hosted on Zoom:
Meeting ID: 813 5094 5139
The video program will include views of the stained glass windows which inspired the music, and views of the organist and organ mechanisms during the music. Each of the 15 short pieces is also connected to 16th-century poetry by Thomas Traherne, which inspired the stained glass, and is arranged as an homage to individuals in the same manner as Sir Edward Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations.
This online event benefits the renovation of an American treasure, our 1894 Hook & Hastings pipe organ, built in Boston and installed when the church building was new 126 years ago. Donations to this event — featuring a match challenge of up to $275,000! — may be made at:
While the “new normal” has its differences, many of life’s greatest joys remain consistent, one of which is music. In conjunction with the virtual concert, St. John’s is thrilled to announce a generous match challenge to ensure the music keeps playing! An anonymous donor has agreed to match up to $275,000 towards the restoration of the iconic Hook & Hastings organ, $65,000 of which has been met. St. John’s is immensely grateful for this support and what it means in terms of bringing joy to the community through music for decades to come.
In the summer 2014, 110 mini-concerts raised over $11,000 to begin restoration of this historic instrument. Each summer since, about 50 concerts have raised awareness and funds to return missing pipes, repair mechanisms and replace the blower. Our Quarter Till Organ Recitals have been named a Newport Life Magazine “2020 Best of Newport County” award winner as “Best Kept Secret: Entertainment”! You can read all about it and all the winners in the latest issue of Newport Life Magazine, or online here:
The installation of the new console is the first major phase of the renovation which will continue in 2021-2022 with the restoration of the pipe chamber and all the pipes and mechanisms.