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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Now THAT'S a "Box of Whistles!"

And the organist ain't too shabby.
Seriously, Brother Jonathan is fantastic, how fortunate for the people of Oakland.
And how fortunate for the people of Chicago.
And of Cromwell Connecticut.
Oh heck, how fortunate for the Church.
The entire People of God.
Br. Jonathan Ryan, SJC received an unexpected phone message on Thursday afternoon, April 8: a voicemail to immediately call the Director of Music of the newly dedicated Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, CA, just across the bay from San Francisco. The ... French concert organist the Cathedral had booked to play [a concert] had to cancel. He was thus asked to play a concert on the same date a week away so the event could still take place.

He flew to California the following Wednesday, and performed to an audience of over 500 in the breathtaking acoustics of the Cathedral on Friday evening, April 16. His program included the Prelude & Fugue in B Major, Op. 7, No. 1 by Marcel Dupré, The Legend of the Mountain from Seven Pastels on the Lake of Constance, Op. 96 by Sigfried Karg-Elert, the Rhapsody in C# Minor, Op. 17, No. 3 by Herbert Howells, Claude Balbastre’s Noel: Where are these happy shepherds going?, the Pastorale & Toccata by contemporary Bay-area composer David Conte, There is a Happy Land, I Love Thee My Lord, and Jerusalem My Happy Home by George Shearing, Fanfare to the Tongues of Fire by Larry King, Vater Unser im Himmelreich, BWV 682 by J.S. Bach, and The World Awaiting the Savior from the Passion Symphony, Op. 23 by Dupré.

Br. Jonathan has gained significant public notoriety as a concert organist, most recently with his First Place prize in the Jordan II International Organ Competition, one of the premier international organ competitions in the world, this past September. The Jordan Competition First Prize includes the largest monetary prize of any organ competition and a three-year management contract with Karen McFarlane Artists. Br. Jonathan currently divides his time between St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, where he regularly plays within a liturgical context during Holy Week, Advent, Christmas, and from May through August, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT, where he plays for daily Chapel liturgies and assists in the musical formation of seminarians.

His next concert performance in the Chicago area will take place at St. John Cantius on Sunday, May 30 at 2:00 pm. This recital will be a duo program with young upcoming Chicago-native organist Nathan Laube featuring music by Pasquini, J.S. Bach, Holst, Hampton, and solo selections by Widor and Vierne. A free-will offering will benefit the parish sacred music program. A solo recital by Br. Jonathan at St. John Cantius is being planned for the late summer and will include the complete Passion Symphony, Op. 23 by Marcel Dupré.

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