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Acclaimed organist to perform Fitzner concert Sunday

 

Joby Bell, organist for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Boone, North Carolina, will be featured in the Martha Claire Kennedy Fitzner Concert at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus.

Joby Bell, organist for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Boone, North Carolina, will be featured in the Martha Claire Kennedy Fitzner Concert at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus.
Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

 

Special to The Dispatch

 

 

The Martha Claire Kennedy Fitzner Concert Series returns Sunday to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus with a performance by award-winning organist Joby Bell of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Boone, North Carolina. The 4:30 p.m. concert is free, and all are invited to the historic church located at 318 College St. 

 

This year's program will feature works from Herbert Howells, Johann Sebastian Bach, Daniel Gawthrop and Charles-Marie Widor. "Toccata," a work by St. Paul's own organist, Len Bobo, will add festive energy to the event. 

 

"'Toccata' threatens to put the organist in traction afterward," Bell explained of the physically demanding piece. "The piece has a perpetuum mobile motive throughout, a festive recurring call of sorts, while brimming with soaring, joyful melodic fragments." 

 

Bell, who serves on the faculty of the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University, has performed a number of Bobo's compositions and premiered his "Appalachian Prelude" in the Washington (D.C.) National Cathedral. Bell has garnered numerous awards in national competitions and from the American Guild of Organists. 

 

Bell will play St. Paul's Aeolian Skinner pipe organ, which offers magnificent variety, "from the softest tones to the magnificent trompette en chamade above the center aisle," Bobo said. 

 

The 17-rank organ was installed in 1953 to replace the Pilcher organ of 1885. With additions in 2007 and 2014, the impressive instrument features over 2,000 pipes and 19 ranks of digital stops, making it the equivalent of a 36-rank organ. 

 

The concert series honors the memory of longtime active St. Paul's member Martha Claire Fitzner, who died in 2015. In addition to her many leadership and service contributions to the church and St. Paul's Episcopal School, Fitzner impacted the lives of children and families throughout the community as a beloved teacher at Heritage Academy for nearly two decades. 

 

"All the children loved her," said the Very Rev. Anne Harris, rector of St. Paul's. "Martha Claire's light was a gift to all of us." 

 

Harris continued, "This concert series shares the wonderful gift of music with the community," Harris continued. "It's a beautiful gift, and we invite everyone to come and listen to this gorgeous music in this gorgeous location." 

 

 

 

IF YOU GO: 

 

WHO: St. Paul's Episcopal Church 

 

WHAT: Martha Claire Kennedy Fitzner Concert Series featuring Joby Bell 

 

WHERE: St. Paul's, 318 College St., Columbus 

 

WHEN: 4:30 p.m. 

 

ADMISSION: Free

 

 

 

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