Matthew Robertson, self-appointed organ repair aficionado who frequently helps with the organ, sitting inside the organ chamber. (Photo by Susanne Reul-Zastre)

St. Luke’s concert puts organ in spotlight

Concert at Saanich church will raise funds for repairs of 94-year-old organ

The St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church is hosting an organ concert at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 in honour of the 94-year-old organ’s recent repairs.

The organ is once again ready to be played, and the Crowd Pleasers Only showcase admission fees will help offset the cost of the repairs that have just been done and the repairs that still need to be done.

The 1925 Casavant organ’s age was beginning to show and it was in need of some care. The instrument receives regular maintenance and tuning due to the weather here, explained St. Luke’s organist and choir director Susanne Reul-Zastre. She described it as going to the mechanic for a tune up.

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However, the repair job that took place in August was major. The organ had a cracked oboe chest and an impacted Sesquialtera rank which meant several parts of the organ weren’t usable, explained Reul-Zastre.

Staff from Barnsely Pipe Organs in Calgary came to Saanich to restore the organ and bring back its sound. The company services organs all over B.C. and Alberta.

Several musicians will be featured in the program and will play “crowd pleasers” from throughout history including Bach, Pachelbel and Telemann as well some jazz and some originals. Attendees will hear ‘Widor’ Toccata played by Nicholas Fairbank, ‘Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster’ played by Jennifer Mitchell and ‘The Empress Hotel Rag’ by Rosemary Laing and many more songs.

Reul-Zastre said the variety of songs will show the organ’s versatility and she hopes the songs will “wow the audience or move them to tears.”

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There will also be a camera set up in the organ to show the concert attendees what it takes to play the large instrument.

“Your hands and feet fly around while you play,” said Reul-Zastre, who began playing the organ in her teens.

Reul-Zastre also noted that while the concert takes place in an Anglican church, folks of all faiths are invited to attend.

Admission is by donation but staff from St. Luke’s staff suggest $20. The church is also wheelchair accessible and parking is free.


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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Jason Barnsley of Barnsley Pipe Organs worked on repairing individual parts of the organ. (Photo by Susanne Reul-Zastre)

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