Yakima's Pipe Organs Come to Life for "Glorious" Concert Series
YAKIMA, Wash. – A series of free community concerts this week celebrates the 90th year of Yakima Community College with performances of “Gloria,” a popular contemporary composition by John Rutter. For YVC Director of Choral Activities Steven Slusher, the key to the concerts was the participation of organist Jerry Kaminski, Director of Music at Wesley United Methodist and St. Paul Cathedral.
“I can’t believe, actually, that we get to play with him,” says YVC music student Samantha Sugihara. “He’s just utterly fabulous. You have to be very talented to play the organ.”
YVC has acquired a special keyboard to simulate a pipe organ sound for the Friday, Dec. 7th concert at Kendall Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m. That concert will feature a special appearance by the Yakima Children’s Choir. On Saturdy night at 7 p.m. Slusher’s choir, which features student, alumni, and community members, will perform at St. Paul. A Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. will conclude the community concert series at Wesley United Methodist, on 48th and Tieton in Yakima.
Most people are surprised to learn the number of pipes each instrument holds. The organ at St. Paul, for example has over 1,200 pipes, according to Kaminski, while the largest pipe organ in Yakima, at Grace of Christ Presbyterian, has over 3,500.
Both the organs included in the “Gloria” performances were installed in the mid-1980’s. The organ at Wesley United Methodist was donated, coincidentally, by the late Helen Jewett, who also donated money for the construction of YVC’s iconic clock tower.
In addition to the organ and choir, the performances will feature a brass section and a pianist.
For Slusher, the chance to sing in a cathedral setting makes for a unique learning experience, saying, “It’s totally exhilarating. The students, they have no idea what it is going to feel like. It is going to be a lifetime experience, there is no doubt in my mind.”
YVC student Tessie Coscarart agrees, saying, “Not to make a pun, but I think it is going to be glorious, because of the sound of everyone’s voice coming together.”