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The Margaret L. Wendt Memorial Organ – King of Instruments

Authors: Kristen and Justin Pomietlarz, organist and choirmaster, HTLC

To my eyes and ears the organ will always be the king of instruments.

– Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Though Mozart knew many significant instruments of the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria at the time, none would compare to the recently renovated Margaret L. Wendt Memorial Organ of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo. Listed on several websites as the 28th largest organ in the world, it is by far the largest and most comprehensive organ in Buffalo, and is not outranked in New York State with exception to the instruments at the Riverside Church and St. Bartholomew in New York City, and the organ of the USMA Cadet Chapel at the West Point Military Academy.

The Margaret L. Wendt Memorial Organ boasts two antiphonal consoles: a 5-manual Chancel console and a 3-manual Gallery console which control an astounding 151 ranks of approximately 10,000 pipes. Thanks to the generous support of the Wendt Foundation, major renovations were completed to the instrument in 2016 by Parsons Organ Builders of Canandaigua, NY. From 2014-2016, Parsons undertook a comprehensive re-working of the Chancel divisions, providing a new layout for improved tonal cohesion and access for service and periodic tuning. The project included an all-new 3-storey structure at the front of the nave housing swell boxes, windchests, blower motors, and pipes, and new keyboards and electronics for the Chancel console. One of the most notable features of the projects was the introduction of the “Bigham Tuba,” a solo rank named in honor of James Bigham, Holy Trinity’s illustrious organist-choirmaster from 1977 – 2017. In 2019, the Chancel Console was dedicated in honor of Mr. Bigham and his significant legacy to Holy Trinity and the musical fabric of the City of Buffalo.

Since its recent debut, the instrument has garnered significant national attention, as has been played in concert by a number of the world’s leading virtuosos, most recently by international organ superstar, Chelsea Chen as part of the 2019 American Guild of Organists Northeast Regional Convention.

Chris Young, Concert Organist

Friday, October 18th, 8:00 PM marks the next such concert at Holy Trinity. Christopher Young, Professor of Organ at the esteemed Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, will perform an eclectic recital on this magnificent instrument.

A native of New England, Christopher Young is the winner of the 1988 National Young Artists Competition (NYACOP) of the American Guild of Organists and the 1988 Arthur Poister Competition (Syracuse University). He was also recognized by Musical America as one of their outstanding Young Artists of 1989. His concert career began under the auspices of a special young artist program provided by Karen McFarlane Artists, and continued under the Young Organists Cooperative, of which he was a co-director until 1993.

Dr. Young has been a featured artist at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. He has been heard as a featured performer on American Public Media’s “Pipedreams” and has appeared in concert with the Rochester (MN) Chamber Chorale, the Minneapolis Chamber Symphony and with his wife, violinist Brenda Brenner. His compact disc, “To Thee All Angels Cry Aloud,” was released on the Pro Organo label.

His program ranges from French music by Duruflle, Vierne, and Guilmant, to minimalist and electronic inspired music. The concert concludes with Harold Britten’s Variations of “I Got Rhythm.”

This concert event is free and open to the public, supported by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Parsons Organ Builders, and the Buffalo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. A wine reception will follow the concert in Redeemer Hall, the undercroft of the Church. Donations are gratefully accepted, which will be added to Holy Trinity’s organ maintenance fund.

The Margaret L. Wendt Memorial Organ – King of Instruments

Christopher Young, Concert Organist, Indiana University – Bloomington

Friday, October 18, 2019

8:00 PM

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church | 1080 Main Street | Buffalo, New York | (716) 886-2400

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