Serving Organ Music With Lunch

The Andover Townsman
By Judy Wakefield
Published:  April 8, 2008

Brown-bagging one’s lunch could provide some musical dividends.

Starting April 9, at lunchtime, the Phillips Academy music department’s “ORGANize Your Lunch!” series steps off. And brown bags are welcome.

Four free half-hour organ concerts are planned each Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. for the month of April as music teacher and organist Patrick Kabanda is reaching out to turn more people on to the organ.

Faculty emerita Carolyn Skelton and her husband, John, music director at Maple Street Congregational Church, Danvers, started the series on Wednesday, April 9; Peter Stoltzfus Berton will perform on April 16; followed by George Davey on April 23, and Phillips Academy organ students on April 30.

Juilliard-trained, Kabanda took a tip from Wall Street in New York City where lunchtime organ concerts were popular as he often performed.

“Wall Street is chaotic, stressful, busy and these people would come to an organ concert with their lunches and just enjoy for a while,” said Kabanda, who was turned on to his favorite instrument as a youngster in Uganda when his mother brought him to church.

The organ-with-lunch theme is also served up at Harvard University and Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley Square as Kabanda has performed there as well. England and Australia business workers also enjoy the organ concerts with their brown bag lunches, he said.

“The organ is a landmark instrument in the U.S. and I want to help make it more popular,” Kabanda said, adding with a laugh, “like a rock concert.”

Kabanda is hoping PA students as well as local residents check out the shows, which will be held in Cochran Chapel on campus. PA’s majestic organ, built in 1981, sits at the front of the chapel where Kabanda talked about its incredible range from “quiet hissing to intense and thunderous.”

“Mixing its sounds is what captivated me,” he said, noting proudly that the world-renowned German composer Johann Sebastian Bach was an organist. “It is a very important instrument to anyone studying music.”

He said PA is one of the few high schools in the country to have its own organ and this music series offers a great way for people to check it out.

“ORGANize Your Lunch!”

30-minute lunchtime organ concerts

Wednesdays, April 9, 16, 23, 30
1:15 p.m.
Cochran Chapel, Phillips Academy

Free, open to the public
Bring your brown bag lunch

Performers: Faculty emerita Carolyn Skelton and her husband, John, music director at Maple Street Congregational Church, Danvers, started the series yesterday, Wednesday, April 9; Peter Stoltzfus Berton on April 16; George Davey on April 23; PA organ students on April 30

More info: 978-749-4263


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