Concert marks 50 years since Chapel organ dedication

February 26, 2016

A Festive Concert, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the Casavant Organ at Saint Michael’s College, will take place on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the College chapel. William Tortolano, professor emeritus of fine arts/music, will perform on the 14-stop, 17-rank, two-manual organ, with strings, brass ensemble, timpani, the Saint Michael’s College Chorale, and the Vermont Gregorian Chant Schola.

The program includes several compositions from its 1966 dedication:  the Entrata Festiva, with brass and timpani by Peeters; four Church Sonatas for two violins and cello by Mozart; and the Suite Medievale for organ by Langlais.

The Saint Michael’s College Chorale, directed by Nathaniel Lew, will sing the Canadian Harry Somers setting of the Gloria, with trumpets, and Jubilate Deo by Britten. In residence at Saint Michael’s College, the Schola will sing chant settings of three Gregorian Kyrie’s from Fiori Musical by Frescobaldi with brass editions by Tortolano, and the American folk tune, Amazing Grace and Jerusalem, My Happy Home, followed by organ settings by jazz great, George Shearing.The organ setting of Litanies by Alain completes the program.

Designed by Tortolano and dedicated to him, the 921-pipe organ benefits from the acoustically superb Chapel, Tortolano said.  An excellent pedal rank, a Posaune, was added by A. David Moore Organs in 2004.

Tortolano, whose teaching career spanned 50 years at the College, was the founder of the Fine Arts Department and its first chairperson. He earned degrees from Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music and L’Université de Montréal, has been Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University four times, held fellowships at Yale University and Tanglewood (The Berkshire Music Center).

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, conferred upon Tortolano the Pontifical Honor, Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in recognition of service to the Burlington Diocese and to the Church.

The concert is dedicated to the memory of Martha Kane Tortolano (1937 – 2014) who was cooperating artist in voice at Saint Michael’s and enjoyed a career as soprano soloist in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Italy.

The concert is free and open to the public.

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