From the Dean

Thanks to some great publicity in the Tampa Bay Times Weekend edition, both organ events this past weekend were blessed with excellent attendance. Almost 200 people enjoyed Saturday’s Clearwater Chapter program featuring Tom Hoehn in a performance of Chaplin’s award winning silent film, “The Circus.” On Sunday at St. Andrew’s in Tampa, there were at least 100 who came out to hear Ryan Hebert give a recital for the 25th Anniversary of the Fisk, Opus 105.

“The Circus” is a film that Tom has accompanied many times, and it showed in a masterful performance that featured Chaplin’s own song, “Swing, Little Girl” at all the romantic spots throughout the story. The organ music was perfectly matched to the movie for the entire 75 minutes of the film, yet Tom never drew attention to himself during the performance, which is the hallmark of a true artist.

Dr. Hebert did an excellent job showing both the beauty and the strength of the Fisk organ’s individual ranks and choruses. I knew the Bach and Buxtehude would sound fantastic, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the success of the Vierne on an instrument that no one would consider ideal for French Romantic organ music. Ryan came up with some creative solutions, like playing the 16 foot Dulcian up an octave to create a lovely 8 foot stop. And of course, the instrument excels at supporting the human voice, so it was a joy that he included a congregational hymn.

Finally, we are blessed in Tampa Bay with one of the best newspapers that still survives in this country. I am grateful for their outstanding coverage of The Florida Orchestra and other music and arts events. I know many persons no longer subscribe to the newspaper, but I hope that those of us who are concerned about the survival of our profession would consider how much we benefit from a newspaper with a strong focus on fine arts.

Bradley Swope, Dean