Sunday Tchaikovsky Performance Brings Listeners Closer To Heaven

To The Reader’s Forum:

Words cannot adequately describe the phenomenal performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor that Ron McEntire and Brian Bogey performed on Sunday, June 3, at the Musical Organ Celebration at Christ First Methodist Church. In today’s technology, it is possible to hear and view multiple audio and video recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 on you tube at the click of your mouse. While these video performances give you a close-up of world-class pianists, nothing prepares you for the awe-struck transcendence of listening and watching Ron’s exuberant, memorized performance of that 96-page piano score!

Since this was only my second live performance of this entire concerto, I was taken back to a breezy Saturday night in July, 1966, in the open-air auditorium at Interlochen Music Camp, (Interlochen Arts Academy) in northern Michigan where the summer Orchestra was performing this same Concerto with none other than Van Cliburn himself! I was totally mesmerized at his every chord! I came away walking in the clouds, determining that my tiny hands would someday play that Concerto!

I am certain that many in the audience last Sunday afternoon were drawn closer to the music of heaven as they sat spellbound through not only Tchaikovsky’s memorized concerto, but Ron’s entire memorized organ accompaniment to Durufle’s Prelude, Adagio et Choral Varie, Op. 4, sung by the Lake Erie Choral Artists, directed by Steve Woods, which preceded the Concerto. This score is a totally different challenge for memorization in addition to continuous registration changes for the Organist. With 12 general pistons in each of the multiple memory levels of the enhanced Control system of the Schantz Pipe Organ, Ron was able to move smoothly through the many nuances of Durufle’s composition.

We must not forget Brian Bogey’s organ performance of the Orchestral Reduction! No Concerto is complete without the complimenting Orchestra! True to form, Brian ingeniously engineered numerous rapid registration changes with more than 36 completely different registrations!

Once again, our thanks to Christ First Methodist Church and our local Chautauqua Chapter American Guild of Organists members who brought to our community a festive World-class presentation! The large packed church and the instant standing ovation assured our musicians that the music community was there to celebrate their stunning performance as well as the official completion of the Schantz Pipe Organ Project! It was only fitting that we conclude the afternoon by raising our voices in Praising God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

Thanks, Ron and Brian, for the hundreds of hours of preparation that brought us a memorable experience!

Thanks for the inspiration that has re-ignited our hearts in the Ministry of Music, in which we serve!

Donna L. Gatz,

Dean, Chautauqua Chapter of the American Guild of Organists