One of the first entrants into the 2019-20 classical music scene comes from what is often referred to as the “King of the Instruments”: the pipe organ.
Bakersfield native T. Paul Rosas returns this weekend to perform music from Bach to the modern era at First Presbyterian Church. Sponsored by the Kern County chapter of the American Guild of Organists, the afternoon concert will also feature several American composers, including John Weaver, Robert Elmore, Angela Kraft Cross and Davide Verreta.
AGO spokesman Dr. Phil Dodson said education is the primary focus of the group, promoting organ performance, established repertoire and new works, and new ways of presenting organ music, in the hope of inspiring young musicians to learn to the play the daunting instrument.
“If you are in a community of over 1 million people, like Los Angeles, there will be young people studying organ,” Dodson said. “But in smaller communities, young people seem to be more attracted to digital keyboards.”
Dodson noted the Kern chapter has 22 members, many of whom work as church organists, as well as concert performers. Dodson said about a half-dozen local churches have exceptional pipe organs, which have all been featured in regional conferences held in Bakersfield over the last decade.
Rosas will perform the Prelude and Fugue in E minor by J. S. Bach, a number of traditional church anthems; the Toccata for Organ by Weaver; the Sonata No. 8 in E minor by Josef Rheinberger; the Grand Lothbury Voluntary by Angela Kraft Cross, and others.
Rosas, a graduate of Garces Memorial High School, earned his music degrees at the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific and the Royal Academy of Church Music in England, served as senior organist for California churches for over 30 years. In addition to performing and composing, Rosas has also developed and promoted connecting other art forms with organ music, particularly combining visual arts with live organ music.
Sunday’s concert is a benefit concert, supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. Rosas has been performing concerts for this cause for over a decade.