Musicians Sarah Svendson (right) and Rachel Mahon (left) appear at Christ Church Cathedral’s Summer Organ Series as Organized Crime. Photo contributed

Musicians Sarah Svendson (right) and Rachel Mahon (left) appear at Christ Church Cathedral’s Summer Organ Series as Organized Crime. Photo contributed

Victoria organ recitals range from divine to “Organized Crime”

Christ Church Cathedral series opens tonight at 7:30

Tim Collins


Tim Collins/Victoria News

Christ Church Cathedral is expanding its annual Summer Organ Series to four events, featuring four eminent Canadian organists in a celebration of music to mark the series’ 10th anniversary.

Three of the four Friday night concerts, June 9, 16 and 23, will be given on the Hellmuth Wolff organ at the Cathedral, Quadra Street and Rockland Avenue. The fourth recital, takes place on June 24, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church, 680 Courtney St. All the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.

This week’s concert features Vancouver–based organist Alexander Welmann, who first tried the Wolff organ last year and was immediately moved to perform a compilation of Bach, Mozart, Couperin and others in what he has dubbed an “organ mass.”

The second performance features Victoria’s own David Stratkauskas, the organist and choirmaster at Church of St. John the Divine. He is well known in Victoria for his work with the Victoria Children’s Choir and his appearances with Victoria Baroque players and the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

“The organ is such a visceral instrument. It’s massive and moves the air in the room so you can feel the music,” said Stratkauskas, who remarkably, started playing the organ at the age of seven.

The series climaxes with a double-header appearance by two young and innovative artists, Rachel Mahon and Sarah Svendsen, both past winners of the Godfrey Hewitt Scholarship from the Royal Canadian College of Organists.

In their June 24 performance, they appear under the name Organized Crime in a performance featuring choreography, props, costumes (including tuxedos, sequin gowns, and stiletto heels). The concert contains a mix of classical organ music and popular music arranged for the organ.

Tickets for individual recitals are $20, or four-event passes are $60, available from the Cathedral office at 930 Burdett Ave., or Munro’s and Ivy’s bookstores.


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