Costa Mesa Cathedral Echoes Organ Performance with Organist Craig S. Williams



Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Orange County Performing Arts Center
Pacific Chorale • Craig S. Williams, organ • John Alexander, conducting

Concert on November 1st Celebrates the Cathedral Choral Tradition
with Guest Organist Craig S. Williams at the Orange County Performing Arts Center

Pacific Chorale opens its 42nd concert season with Cathedral Echoes in the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 1st. Sponsored in part Mr. and Mrs. Martin G. Hubbard, Cathedral Echoes will feature acclaimed guest artist Craig S. Williams, organist and choirmaster of the Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy, West Point. Mr. Williams will accompany Pacific Chorale on the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ through much of the program, and be featured in a solo performance of the American composer Nancy Plummer Faxon’s Toccata for Organ.

Cathedral Echoes features a varied program of sacred music from Europe and America, bolstered by guest artist Craig S. Williams on the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall features an astounding variety of acoustical settings, made possible by the use of four reverberation chambers, 128 concrete and wood doors that adjust the volume of the space and reverberation time in the chambers, and three adjustable acoustical canopies above the performance platform. For this performance, the acoustic will be set to the most open and resonant position to evoke the reverberation of a European cathedral coupled with the clarity of a modern American concert hall.

John Alexander’s program includes sets of works representing different nations and musical traditions. First, Canadian composer Ruth Watson Henderson’s Come, Holy Spirit and American icon Charles Ives’ monumental Psalm 90 demonstrate the innovations that North American composers have brought to the traditions of sacred music from the Old World. Belgian composer Flor Peeters’ (1903-1986) magnificent Missa Festiva looks back to the glorious choral heritage of his native land, dating back to the early giants of the Renaissance. A set of works by British composers from the early 20th century introduces the second half of the concert, beginning with William Walton’s rousing Coronation Te Deum, and continuing with music by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) and Gustav Holst (1874-1934).

Guest artist Craig Williams will perform Toccata, a technical showcase for the organ by American composer Nancy Plummer Faxon. Many of Mrs. Faxon’s works were written for her husband George, who served as organist of Trinity Church in Boston. Trinity Church is something of an epicenter for composition in New England, having also been for many years the post of Ives’ teacher Horatio Parker, whose works have been featured in several recent Pacific Chorale concerts.

Pacific Chorale concludes the concert with selections from the American folk hymn catalog: “The Gift to Be Simple,” “Steal Away,” “I Got a Home in-a Dat Rock,” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Heard here in expert arrangements by Bob Chilcott, Carol Barnett, Moses Hogan, and James Mulholland, these four varied hymns and spirituals forcefully convey the religious fervor and musical vitality of the American people.

Craig S. Williams is Organist and Choirmaster of the Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy West Point, where he plays the world’s largest church pipe organ and directs the Cadet Chapel Choir. He is only the fourth organist to hold that position since the present cadet chapel building was erected in 1910. He was the first Currin Scholar (full graduate scholarship) in organ performance at Westminster Choir College, studying under Eugene Roan. Also, he received degrees in piano performance from the Juilliard School, where he performed with the Juilliard Chamber Symphony at Lincoln Center, and the University of Southern California. Mr. Williams has performed on both the organ and piano for more than 35 years, serving as a professional church musician most of those years. His organ credits include performing at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in addition to giving numerous recitals and workshops for prominent cathedrals and churches throughout the country, including the famed Crystal Cathedral in California. He has been a featured performer for conventions held by the American Guild of Organists and the American Institute of Organbuilders. Recently, Mr. Williams recorded a CD, released by Calcante Recordings (CD046), performing at the Baptist Temple in Brooklyn.

Concert Program:

Motets from North America
Come, Holy Spirit Ruth Watson Henderson
Psalm 90 Charles Ives

Missa Festiva, Op. 62 Flor Peeters

Motets from the United Kingdom
Coronation Te Deum William Walton
Magnificat in G, Op. 81 Charles Villiers Stanford
Nunc dimittis Gustav Holst

Toccata Nancy Plummer Faxon

American Folk Hymns
The Gift to Be Simple arr. Bob Chilcott
Steal Away arr. Carol Barnett
I Got a Home in-a Dat Rock arr. Moses Hogan
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing arr. James Mulholland

Cathedral Echoes has been underwritten, in part, by Mr. and Mrs. Martin G. Hubbard. Additional support provided by Karl and Marilyn Forsstrom.

Pacific Chorale’s 2009–2010 concert season is sponsored, in part, by Phillip N. and Mary A. Lyons.

Ticket prices start at $19. Student/senior discounts available by phone only.

For more information, or for tickets, visit or call Ryan McSweeney or Dana Ramos at (714) 662-2345.

Artistic Director of Pacific Chorale since 1972, John Alexander has received consistent acclaim for his inspired leadership, both on the podium and as an advocate for the advancement of the arts. In his long and distinguished career, he has conducted hundreds of performances of choirs and orchestras in 27 countries around the globe. Noted as a specialist in conducting the choral/orchestral masterworks, he is also a strong proponent of American music, programming groundbreaking works by California composers and bringing twelve West Coast and world premieres to Southern California performance halls in the past thirteen years. Choruses prepared by John Alexander have performed under many of the most renowned conductors on the world stage, including Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Lukas Foss, Max Rudolf, Carl St.Clair, Gerard Schwarz, Marin Alsop, John Mauceri, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart. In 2008, Alexander was honored with the “Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art” from Chorus America.

Founded in 1968, Pacific Chorale is internationally recognized for exceptional artistic expression, stimulating American-focused programming, and influential education programs. Pacific Chorale presents a significant performance season of its own at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and is sought regularly to perform with the nation’s leading symphonies. Under the inspired guidance of Artistic Director John Alexander, Pacific Chorale has infused an Old World art form with California’s hallmark innovation and cultural independence.
In addition to its long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony, the Chorale has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall on numerous occasions. Other noted collaborations include the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, and the Long Beach, Pasadena, Riverside and San Diego symphonies. John Alexander and the Chorale have toured extensively in Europe, South America and Asia.




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