Monday, June 20, 2011

Popular organist returns for U.P. recitals

HANCOCK -- Christina Harmon, who has roots in the Upper Peninsula but now lives in Dallas, returns to the U.P. to give organ recitals in four communities this month. She was brought here in 2009 by Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) and was warmly embraced by her audiences. She returned in 2010 to make recordings with some of her favorite organs, and now is back again.

On Monday, June 20, she will perform at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Lake Linden; on June 22 at First Lutheran Church, Iron Mountain; on June 24 at St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church, Escanaba; and on June 27 at Bethany Lutheran Church, Ishpeming. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. local time. Tickets are $20, or $10 for children and students.

These are some of the most beautiful churches and most impressive organs in the U.P. In these concerts, Harmon will be joined by two trumpet players: Mark Flaherty of Marquette Symphony Orchestra and Joel Neves, conductor of Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra.

Harmon will offer a workshop for organists in the morning of Tuesday, June 21, on the historic tracker Barckhoff organ at Keweenaw Heritage Center in Calumet, sponsored jointly by the Center and Organists of Keweenaw. The cost is $15 per person (cash or checks payable to Christina Harmon). Contact Jan Dalquist at jandalq@pasty.com (preferred) or call 906-482-0709 for information and registration.

Harmon was so impressed with some of the organs that she played on in 2009, that she has produced a CD called "Eight Historic Organs of the Copper Country." It will be available locally for $15 and also through www.ravencd.com and the Organ Historical Society. One of the eight organs featured is that of St. Joseph Church in Lake Linden, where she will perform on June 20.

Christina Harmon is a respected figure on the international organ circuit and has played at such prestigious places as Westminster Abbey in London and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. She is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Southern Methodist University and has a doctoral residency from the University of North Texas.

Her U.P. roots are in Menominee, where her father was a church and school choir director.

Besides the organ concerts, other events in the PMMF 2011 season will include opening galas in Lake Linden and Iron Mountain; a string octet; a two-piano recital by Stephanie and Jonathan Shames; a recital by renowned Finnish baritone Esa Ruuttunen; a musical revue featuring songs about New York and Paris by Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Edith Piaf and others; appearances by Ameriikan Poijat, a brass septet from Minneapolis; and the New World Premiere of Rockland, an opera based on local history, at the Rozsa Center in Houghton on July 15 and 17.

Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a season of opera and classical music each June-July in the Dickinson County area, the Marquette area, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and other towns in the Upper Peninsula. Visit the web at http://www.pmmf.org or call 888-309-7861 for more information. Tickets are available through the Rozsa Center box office, telephone 877-746-3999, or at the door if space permits.

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