The Elon Community Church to celebrate 40th anniversary of the Casavant Organ with three special guests

The Elon University Organist presents a recital at the Elon Community Church celebrating the 40th anniversary of the installation of the Casavant Organ with several recitals, including W. Thomas Jones on March 6.

Most assuredly, COVID-19 put on hold many plans in all of our lives. June of 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the installation of the Elon Community Church Casavant Organ.

The ECC had planned to celebrate. But with restrictions in place, they held off. The Elon Community Church celebrated a “Service of Consecration” on Sept. 14, 1980 and renowned organist Marilyn Kaiser performed a “Dedication Recital” on April 5, 1981. The organ was designed, built and installed by Casavant Frerés Limitee of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. It contains twenty-three ranks with eighteen stops. Mary Alice Bragg served as organist-choir director and worked hand-in-hand with Casavant on the design and installation of the organ. The set of chimes, originally installed in January 1966 and given in memory of Marsha Lou Lankford, were retained and incorporated into the design of Elon’s Casavant organ.

“We are delighted to announce three special guest artists appearing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our sanctuary organ this spring 2022,” said Stephen Futrell, ECC music director and Elon director of choral activities.

Joy Rust will kick off on Sunday, Feb. 13. Rust will be followed by Elon University organist W. Thomas Jones on March 6 with the series concluding with Charles Hogan on April 3. All of the recitals are at 2:30 p.m. at the Elon Community Church at 271 N Williamson Ave.

Jones’ recital on March 6 will feature great classics by John Rutter, J.S. Bach, Hugo Distler, César Franck and Ignatius Sancho.

Jones holds master’s degrees in music and religion from Yale, where his teachers were Thomas Murray, Gerre Hancock and Charles Krigbaum. Later, he studied with Marilyn Keiser at Indiana University. A native of Mebane, he studied in high school with Robert Burns King at the First Presbyterian Church of Burlington and obtained his bachelor’s degree in organ from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida as a student of Paul Jenkins. He obtained an Associate’s Diploma from the Royal College of Organists in London after studying with Arthur Wills at Ely Cathedral, where he sang in the cathedral choir.

The recital is free and open to the public.