We welcome two new members of the Dobson crew, Kent Brown (left) and Abe Batten.
After a career in law enforcement, including service in the United States Air Force and the Iowa State Patrol, Kent opened his own cabinet shop in 2001. Joining our team is something of a homecoming, since Fort Dodge, Kent’s home town, is only 40 miles away.
Abe comes to us after five years with the Berghaus Organ Co. He is working with Jon Thieszen in the drawing office. His training as both an architect and a church musician offers a valuable perspective on the design of organs.
18 November 2006
Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosted a month-long exhibition of drawings, photographs and sculptures by Lynn Dobson. The show’s opening on 18 November was followed by a recital by Paul Jacobs on Mt. Olive’s Schlicker organ, an instrument designed and made famous by Paul Manz. David Cherwien currently serves Mount Olive as Cantor.
22 October 2006
The 20th Anniversary of Op. 31, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa, was celebrated today with a recital by Mi-Young Jin, a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas and a former organist of St. Luke’s.
17 September 2006
Our Op. 83 for The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was dedicated today in a festival worship service in the morning and an afternoon recital by Dr. Martin Jean, Director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. The Rev. Marilyn Witte is the church’s Cantor, and played for the dedicatory service.
15 September 2006
Trudy Pitts was the first jazz musician to perform on our Op. 76 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, opening for legendary singer Nancy Wilson. “Putting together more than an hour of her original compositions, Pitts maneuvered the complex instrument as if she had designed it,” said Kevin L. Carter of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Read a lengthy interview with Trudy Pitts on the All About Jazz website.
3 July 2006
Attendees of the AGO National Convention in ChicAGO heard our work during the convention’s opening service in Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection, home of the Reddel Memorial Organ, built by Schlicker in 1959 and rebuilt by us in 1996. Martin Jean, Director of the Institue of Sacred Music at Yale University, served as organist for the service; a recital by James O’Donnell of Westminster Abbey immediately followed.
After eight years of planning, design and construction, our Op. 76 in Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts was presented to the public in a series of concerts beginning with The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach, and soloist Olivier Latry on Thursday, 11 May. The concert, which included the premiere of Philadelphia-area composer Gerald Levinson's Toward Light, Samuel Barber's Toccata Festiva, the Poulenc Concerto, and Saint-Saëns’ famous ‘Organ’ Symphony, was hailed by Philadelphia Inquirer music critic David Patrick Stearns as “one of the great performances in Eschenbach's music-director tenure.”
The weekend featured a variety of programs in addition to the Philadelphia Orchestra concerts. Marvin Mills, Alan Morrison, Cameron Carpenter, Diane Meredith Belcher and Gordon Turk, all organists with Philadelphia connections, performed back-to-back recitals for five hours on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, under the direction of David Hayes, the Philadelphia Singers were joined by the Mannes College of Music Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra organist Michael Stairs in a performance of David Raksin's A Song After Sundown and Beethoven's monumental Missa solemnis. The weekend closed with a program featuring members of the Philadelphia Orchestra brass section and organist William Neil. Members of the Dobson crew, their spouses and friends from Lake City, two dozen people in all, attended the various events. A selection of photographs from the inaugural weekend can be found here.
The excitement didn’t end there. The organ was featured in a wide range of programs, finally concluding on 25 May with a brilliant performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, the Poulenc Concerto with Jeffrey Brillhart as soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Jeff then wrapped everything up with an improvisation on submitted themes.
Critics have been laudatory. Articles about the organ and reviews of performances have appeared in many newspapers and online. And the organ has achieved a new level of notoriety in New York City, a place famously without a concert hall organ: a photo of Op. 76’s main console appears in the May 29 edition of New York magazine’s “The Approval Matrix” feature, where it falls in the “Highbrow and Brilliant” quandrant (as opposed to the “Lowbrow and Despicable” quadrant), and has the caption, “Philly’s Kimmel Center gives New Yorkers organ envy.”
Another unexpected but well-received appearance of the organ was its use during a concert by Peter, Paul & Mary on 3 June.
A piece about Op. 76 was a part of NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday, 5 June.
27 February 2006
The Mark Thallander Foundation presented “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs,” a choir festival held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, home of our Op. 75. Conceived and conducted by Eric Dale Knapp, formerly Director of Music at Faith Lutheran Church in Des Moines (home of Op. 61) and now Conductor-in-Residence for MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall, the program brought together more than 1,000 singers and instrumentalists from the greater Los Angeles area. Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf College was the guest conductor, and Frederick Swann the festival organist.
6 February 2006
Our Op. 76 now has a new name! Today Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announced that the instrument would be known as “The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.” Reports from the press conference have been filed by WPVI, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia Daily News.