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Ogden church invites community to free organ dedicatory recital concert

By Adam Rubin - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Oct 15, 2021

Adam Rubin, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Rulon Christiansen poses Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, with the Johannus digital organ console while practicing for a community concert to be held next week at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ogden.

OGDEN — St. Paul Lutheran Church will open its doors Wednesday for a free community concert that will showcase the church’s newly refurbished and digitized pipe organ.

St. Paul has resided at its current location, 3329 Harrison Blvd., since 1962. Later, a Zimmer pipe organ was installed in 1984.

According to the concert program, attendees can look forward to hearing everything from baroque to modern music, and concertgoers should plan to spend roughly an hour at the event, which starts at 7 p.m.

The concert is intended to demonstrate the full breadth of the Zimmer pipe organ which has been married with a Johannus digital console, broadening the instrument’s capabilities and allowing for virtually any style of music to be played on the organ.

There will be masks available for attendees, and Pastor Mark Christ, who has been with St. Paul for the past 10 years, said the church is mindful of COVID-19; however, no vaccination cards will be required to attend the event. Social distancing will be encouraged as much as possible.

Adam Rubin, Special to the Standard-Examiner

St. Paul Lutheran Church’s newly refurbished organ is seen from the nave Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

The refurbishment, repair and restoration project for the digital pipe organ has been in the works for decades, and there were a few hurdles along the way, Christ said.

Rulon Christiansen, who played the original dedication for the organ’s installation in 1984, has continued playing the organ regularly for St. Paul ever since.

Christiansen will be the solo recitalist for Wednesday’s Organ Dedicatory Recital Concert, playing for the audience.

“When I first started playing at St. Paul’s, there were only pipes.” Christiansen said. “It’s been 30-plus years since I first started playing there and organs generally last about 25 years … before certain components need to be replaced.”

The instrument has been in the church for 37 years.

Adam Rubin, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The Johannus digital organ’s four-manual console shows the complexities of the instrument at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

“It’s been a project that has been several years in development. First, we started dignifying the old pipe organ, then purchased a digital organ and, after some challenges, happily we ended up marrying both the Johannus digital console with Zimmer pipe organ,” Christ said.

According to Christiansen, there are approximately 1,351 pipes in the instrument, making it the second largest pipe organ in Ogden.

“Listening to the organ in the nave of the church is room-shaking,” Christ said enthusiastically.

Both Christiansen and Christ agree that this is a gift not to be saved only for members of the Lutheran faith to enjoy; rather, now that the organ is finally fully refurbished, it is a gift that should be shared with the wider community, they said.

“The pipe organ with digital augmentation allows you to play a wide variety of organ music, both church organ music and concert organ music.” Christiansen said. “No matter if you play baroque, classical, romantic or modern, you can play any style of music on the organ and it will perform it authentically.”

Adam Rubin, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Pastor Mark Christ poses by the Johannus organ console at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, showing the foot petals and manuals of the organ.

St. Paul Lutheran Church expects there to be a full house Wednesday evening for the event.

Rulon Christiansen plays the four-manual Johannus organ at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ogden on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, while warming up for a community concert.

Rulon Christiansen plays the four-manual Johannus organ at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ogden on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, while warming up for a community concert.

ulon Christiansen demonstrates the ability of the refurbished organ at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ogden to play pipes alone and other digital aspects of the instrument Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

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