If you’re the regular organist for a church, or even a regular church goer, you get little opportunity to hear other organists, or other than church music on the organ. So Tom Baugh, at Christ Episcopal on Franklin Road, started a summer festival of organ music, bringing in top performers for Tuesday evening concerts during July.
The first performer, Baugh himself, is no slouch with a demanding performance schedule from Texas to New York. A graduate of the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, he studied organ further with a famous teacher in Lyon, France. At Christ Church, he plays a D. B. Fisk organ installed under his guidance in 2004. An instrument he calls “eclectic, capable of a variety of musical styles.”
This year’s group of performers also includes Charles Ludwick, 26, a doctoral candidate in organ at the University of Texas at Austin. Ludwick hails from West Virginia where he served his home church as organist as a teen, and sang, too, following the path of his parents and grandparents. In the course of his bachelors and masters work at the University of Texas, he’s substituted in “every main line denomination, in all of the different liturgical traditions.” Right now, he’s the organist at a Catholic church in Austin and teaches. Obviously, he’s chosen church music as his career. “I don’t know what else I would do,” he said, given his love for it.
Duke fans will have more to cheer than the basketball team when they hear the final performer in the series, Dr. David Arcus. A native of New York, he did his graduate work at Yale before coming to Duke, where he is the Duke Chapel organist. As well as teaching, he plays for daily services and for weddings – as many as three a day. Arcus looks forward to coming back to Roanoke, as he performed here in 1995 at First Presbyterian in an American Guild of Organists concert. And he and his wife stayed with friends in Fincastle. Arcus enjoys doing improvisation. “I get a theme and do something on the spot.” Although he likes hiking and travel, he enjoys and loves music so much he feels he doesn’t need hobbies. He’s looking forward to playing the C. B. Fisk instrument. And to playing a special concert just for the Roanoke audience. “I try to make it so they [the audience] are excited to come back for more.”
Organ Music Festival: Three entertaining concerts by top professionals enliven Tuesday summer evenings from July 10 through July 24 with varied music selections.
July 10 features Thomas Baugh on the C. B. Fisk organ. July 17 features Charles Ludwick, doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. July 24 features Dr. David Arcus, organist for Duke Chapel, Duke University. Contact: 343-0159