Rob Richards, organist at the Disney El Capitan in Hollywood, will perform a pops program on the Harrah Symphonic Organ at Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Disney entertainer to perform at season-opening PipeSounds organ concert in Hurricane
BY Clint Thomas
September 7, 2016
A Hurricane church is going Hollywood this month.
World-renowned concert and recording artist Rob Richards, the house organist at Disney’s historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, will demonstrate his musical acumen at the 2016-2017 season-opening PipeSounds concert. The concert will get underway at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church in Hurricane.
Richards has accumulated more than 4,000 performances at the El Capitan since 1999, playing the Wurlitzer pipe organ there that was installed originally in the Fox Theatre in San Francisco.
Richards’ combination of technical facility, showmanship and personality has built a fan base for him around the world. He was named the 2005 Organist of the Year by the American Theatre Organ Society, coinciding with his 30th year of concert performances and the ATOS’ 50th anniversary.
Variety magazine wrote that Richards’ performance on the El Capitan Wurlitzer is “a special treat.” Academy Award-winning songwriters Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, whose body of work includes music from the films “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” proclaimed Richards a “supercalifragilistic talent.”
Richards said he is looking forward to the experience of playing on Forrest Burdette United Methodist’s world-class Harrah Symphonic Organ and is preparing a special “Pops” program for the afternoon event.
Concert admission is $10 for adults and free for students and children younger than 5.
Putnam County Bank is sponsoring the concert.
The United Methodist Women of Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church will host a reception following Richards’ concert.
Other PipeSounds concerts on tap in coming months, include:
• NOV. 27: RODNEY BARBOUR (CHRISTMAS CONCERT)
PipeSounds concert veteran Rodney Barbour will mark his 10th performance in the series, which began for him in September 2003.
A Huntington native and Cincinnati resident, Barbour is an accomplished performer on keyboard and low brass instruments. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Organ Performance from Marshall University and a master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the University of Cincinnati. Additional studies include: the completion of all doctoral course work and recitals for the organ performance degree from the University of Cincinnati; studies in worship, organ performance and children’s music at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and study at the Creative Education Foundation at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Barbour’s performance career has taken many directions. From early performances in dance bands, the Holiday on Ice Orchestra and the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus Band, Barbour developed as a featured entertainer for 10 years on the four-manual, 33-rank Wurlitzer organ at Cincinnati’s Springdale Music Palace. He also held the position of official organist of the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium from 1987 to 1998.
Barbour has directed adult and children’s vocal choirs, handbells and instrumental ensembles; written liturgy for worship and performed solo organ concerts and hymn festivals. He has accompanied numerous choral and oratorio performances, as well.
Jellani Eddington will provide organ background music for a silent movie showing in February as part of Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church’s 2016-17 PipeSounds series of concerts.
• FEB. 10: JELLANI EDDINGTON (SILENT MOVIE CONCERT)
Musician Jellani Eddington has performed in many major concert venues throughout the United States, toured extensively abroad and received awards and recognitions, such as his selection as the 2001 Theatre Organist Of The Year.
Born in Muncie, Indiana, Eddington grew up in a musical family. Between the interests of his mother, a professional music teacher, and those of his grandmother, a piano instructor, Eddington demonstrated an inclination toward music at an early age.
According to Eddington’s online biography, shortly after beginning piano instruction at 4, he started studying classical piano under his grandmother’s direction. When he was 8, a trip to hear the four-manual, 42-rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ installed in the Paramount Music Palace in Indianapolis, introduced him to the sounds of the theatre pipe organ. Soon thereafter, he began to pursue classical organ lessons and later studied theatre organ under the direction of internationally acclaimed instructor John Ferguson.
At 13, Eddington won the American Theatre Organ Society’s Young Theatre Organist Competition, prevailing over competitors ages 13 to 21 from the United States, England, Australia and New Zealand. He remains the youngest competitor to win this title.
Eddington graduated Magna Cum Laude from Indiana University in 1996 and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1999.
Nathan Laube will perform a classical concert on the Harrah Symphonic Organ in March.
• MARCH 26 NATHAN LAUBE (CLASSICAL CONCERT)
Classical musician and concert organist Nathan Laube has earned a place among the organ world’s elite performers. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Laube serves as Assistant Professor of Organ at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Laube holds a master’s degree in Organ from the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, Germany, where he was a student of Ludger Lohmann and recipient of a German DAAD Fellowship Study Scholarship for his studies there.
As a recipient of a William Fulbright Grant, he spent the 2010-2011 academic year studying with Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Toulouse, where he earned Prix de Spécialisé with the mention “Très Bien” and “Féliciations du Jury,” in addition to the Prix François Vidal from the city of Toulouse.
Laube earned his Bachelor of Music Degree at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied organ with Alan Morrison and piano with Susan Starr. Upon graduating, he received the institute’s two highest awards: the Landis Award for Excellence in Academics and the Aldwell Award for Excellence in Musical Studies.
During his time at the Curtis Institute, Laube also served as an assistant organist at the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ at Macy’s Department Store in downtown Philadelphia.
As a church musician, Laube most recently served from 2011 to 2013 as artist-in-residence at the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris, France. Previously, he served as organ scholar at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 2848 Putnam Ave. in Hurricane.
For additional information about the concerts or directions to the church, visit www.pipesounds.org or call the church office at 304-562-5903.