Christ Church Greenwich is honored to announce the Inaugural Celebration Concert for their new Harrison & Harrison organ by James O’Donnell, Director of Music at Westminster Abbey.
Mr. O’Donnell has overseen the music for royal ceremonies including the recent State funeral for the Queen of England, wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the funeral of the Queen Mother, and the 2021 service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Phillip, the Queen’s husband.
As Director of Music for 23 years, with over 50 organ and choral recordings to his name, Mr. O’Donnell is currently the organist at Westminster Abbey. He also leads its celebrated choir. He will be retiring from Westminster this year and joining Yale School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music.
Mr. O’Donnell will be playing the new 4-manual Harrison & Harrison organ recently installed at Christ Church Greenwich. This landmark instrument is the culmination of a nine-year process of discernment, design, production, and installation. Containing a total of 4,639 pipes, it was built in Durham, England, and represents the largest organ made by Harrison & Harrison in the USA. The range of sound available to the player is vast, affording the possibility of sensitive accompaniment of choirs and congregations, as well as a dynamic variety that makes repertoire from across the ages come to life. The organ is unique in that it contains orchestral colors, such as a tuba, French horn, clarinet, orchestral oboe, cor anglais, and orchestral strings, as well as a percussion section that features a harp, chimes, and two sets of bells, one cast by the Whitechapel Foundry in London, England.
For this Celebration Concert, Mr. O’Donnell will present a program including works by Bach, Vierne, Stanford, Wammes, and Duruflé. This program has been specifically chosen to showcase the vast array of tonal colors available on the new organ.
As organ recitalist, O’Donnell has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls, cathedrals, and churches in the world, including Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), the Meyerson Center (Dallas), Davies Hall (San Francisco), the Royal Festival Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall (for the BBC Proms), and has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
He is past president of the Royal College of Organists, a fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal School of Church Music, and an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music. In 2011, he was elected an honorary fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.
The Organ Celebration Weekend:
The Celebration Weekend continues on Sunday, October 23, with a 10:00 am celebration service, sung by the Christ Church Singers. There will also be a 5:00 pm service of Choral Evensong with the Diocesan Bishop of CT, Jeffrey Mello, dedicating the instrument. The service will be sung by the Choir of Men & Boys with the St. Cecilia Choir of Girls. The new organ will feature prominently in works at both services.
About Christ Church Greenwich:
Christ Church is a lively community of faith composed of people with diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and spiritual journeys, bound together by God’s love for all people everywhere and united in the common mission to seek and serve God in all persons. This work if fulfilled through the dedicated ministries of over 300 volunteers annually, who serve on more than 40 commissions, committees, guilds and task forces. In addition, the church hosts and supports more than 20 community meetings per week including 12-step programs, choral and music groups, neighborhood groups, and children’s programs. The Christ Church Preschool is a regional leader in early education, and our bookstore, Dogwood Gifts and Books, is a thriving resource of both faith-based and secular books. Their 40-year partnership with Neighbor to Neighbor allows them to serve those in Greenwich who are in need of food.
The Mission of Christ Church Greenwich is to be a vibrant Episcopal community proclaiming God’s love for every human being, no exceptions. Following Jesus’ teachings is their compass for personal growth, community outreach and harmonious living. Its vision is to seek and serve God in all people through inspiration from the Bible, worship, community outreach, music, and art in a sacred historic home.