New Music Director begins!

 

The Church Council has accepted the recommendation of the Music Director search committee and hired

ABRAHAM ROSS 

as the new Music Director for St. John’s.  

He will serve as organist and choir director, as well as planning music at the services in conjunction with Pastor Dyck. 

Our thanks to the Search Committee for their months of careful deliberation and work, including interviews and auditions with the short-listed candidates. 

 

Mr. Ross writes:

“Abraham Ross comes to Montreal to begin his doctoral studies at McGill, where he will study organ and improvisation practices in northern Europe in the seventeenth century. He holds his Master of Music in Historical Performance from Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied organ, harpsichord, and early piano. Originally from Bangor, Maine, he has appeared as a concert artist throughout his home region of the northeastern United States, as well as in Canada and Argentina. This summer, he appeared at the N.E.O. Voice Festival in Los Angeles, teaching a workshop about composing for the organ in a contemporary idiom. Abe is thrilled to join the ministry of St. John’s and provide music for the German and English services with Pastor Dyck and Cantor Tim Wilfong. Apart from music, Abe enjoys reading, cooking and baking bread, as well as hiking, skiing, and trail running.”

 

His first services will be on Sept. 15; a formal welcome is planned at the Reformation Banquet, Oct. 27.

He will be away Oct. 6 and 13 as one of the finalists in the Sweelinck International Organ Competition in the Netherlands.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! - Psalm 95:1

Mission in music is an important part of our tradition. St. John's works in conjunction with the organ department at McGill and its director Hans-Ola Ericsson. The Helmuth Wolff organ at St. John's ranks as one of the significant pipe organs of downtown Montreal and the Reformation repertoire of Bach, Schuetz, Buxtehude, et al is given priority. Music at the services uses hymns from the newest German Hymnal (Bavarian edition) at the German services and Evangelical Lutheran Worship for the English services. Our Music Director position is currently open and we are accepting applicants. The Music Director coordinates a seasonal choir, usually for performances during Easter and Christmas services. Please don't think you have to be able to sing perfectly before you can join! We sing because we enjoy it. So don't be shy to come along!

For more information, please contact music@saintjohnslutheranmontreal.org.

Saint John's Music Ministry also presents the Serenata Concert Series.

Organ.jpg

St. John's organs

The first organ at St. John's was bought in 1859 for $350. It was moved from the St. Dominique St. church to the present building and erected in the chamber to the left of the altar. Its dedication took place on April 27, 1908. Lynnwood Farnam visited the church in 1909 and commented that it has a "...very nice tone, except the trumpet."

In 1913, the church purchased a new tubular-pneumatic instrument from the Karn-Warren Piano and Organ Co. Ltd. of Woodstock, Ontario. The cost of this two-manual, 7 stop instrument was $1,950. An additional $600 was spent for the construction of a new gallery to house the organ at the back of the church.

In 1983, Hellmuth Wolff replaced that instrument with a new two-manual organ in a free standing case of solid white oak. Only the wooden pipes were reused from the 1913 organ.

The stop and key action (balanced) is entirely mechanical. The keybourds are of padouk and grenadilla, the sharps being capped with bone. The flat pedalboard is of oak with rosewood sharps. The pipe shades are of butternut and the stop knobs are rosewood. An interesting feature of the organ is the separate pedal case located behind the instrument. The instrument is voiced on a presure of 75mm.

The new organ was dedicated on the Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 20, 1983. The inaugural recital was played by Douglas Bodle later that day.