After several years of planning and anticipation, suddenly the last chord of Pipes Around the Pacific has been released and has died away. The festival committee has disbanded, exhausted but smiling. The public response was truly amazing.
The festival may be finished, but the music continues. Plans are in the works for summer organ festivals featuring recitalists of this stature in coming years. Meanwhile, Christ Church Cathedral brings several internationally-acclaimed organists to Victoria each year. St. John the Divine hosts and presents a wide variety of concerts. RCCO Victoria and its members are continually presenting musical events. Now that the Conservatory's Casavant organ is again up and running, it has begun appearing both solo and in ensemble.
Do check the concert listings on the RCCO Victoria website from time to time, and join us for more fine organ music.
("When can we hear Paul Jacobs again?")
Centennial of Casavant opus 400
On Tuesday July 20, 2010, there was standing room only in Alix Goolden Hall at the Victoria Conservatory of Music to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the four-manual Casavant Frères opus 400, which was installed in July 1910 for Metropolitan Methodist Church.
This was the first public use of instrument by the Conservatory. When the Conservatory bought Metropolitan United Church in 1997, the organ's blower and console had had to be disconnected to allow building renovations to proceed. Since then, the organ had been a passive participant in the many events held in its home.
During the early months of festival planning, there was hope of an overhaul by Casavant, but then the financial crisis of 2008 came along and a major donor had to withdraw.
Installation of the stage required that a moveable console be provided for the organ. Through heroic efforts and fortuitous circumstances, the local firm Grant Smalley Pipe Organs was able to provide one and to make the organ somewhat playable in time for its centennial.
Faculty member and festival chairman Nicholas Fairbank played a half-hour program of crowd-pleasers including a piece from the inaugural concert of July 1910. Thanks to immense public support for the festival, after settling its accounts the festival committee was able to give the Victoria Conservatory of Music several thousand dollars toward further restoration of this instrument.