Hailed as being on of the greatest engineering accomplishments of the middle ages, the advent of the organ ushered in a new age of liturgical music. Despite the intimidating presence of the instrument, it has been a favorite subject matter of academics for centuries. While the organ on its own is a bit of a menacing instrument, Trinity’s or- gan, with over 6,000 pipes, is one of the largest in New England and was crafted by renowned Austin Organs of Hartford, who have constructed a number of organs across New England.
The organ holds a special place in Trinity’s history. As home to one of the most highly respected organ-scholars program in the country, Trinity
has produced a number of talented young organists under the tutelage of College Organist and Director of Chapel Music John Rose.
Perhaps most notably is Christopher Houlihan ’08, who has performed in major venues across the world, and currently serves as an artist in residence for the College. While a high school student in Somers, CT in 2002, Houlihan won the High School Division when the competition took place in Wethersfield. This year he will act as a judge for the competition.
“He is now one of the leading concert organists in the country and beyond,” Rose said of Houlihan.
For those unfamiliar with the organ, it can at times sound like a cacophony of untamed noise, but for those talented few who hone the skill of playing, it can be an extremely rewarding experience. To help not only celebrate the accomplishments of local organists but also cultivate more interest, Trinity is taking part in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival in Hartford this year.
On Sept. 30, the Chapel will host talented high school organists from around the country and on Oct. 1 the Chapel will host a competition for young professionals. With locations throughout Hartford, this annual competition is hailed as being one of the most competitive in the nation and provides talented youth their first chance at national success.
“I am delighted that Trinity College has been chosen to be the new home to the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival and host its national competitions for talented young organists in two divisions: High School and Young Professionals,” Rose said in anticipation of the event.
For those interested in a uniquely Trinity experience, John Rose provides organ lessons for credit through the music department to any interested student.
For members of the Trinity and Hartford communities interested in observing the festivities, the festival is open to the public free of charge. Audience members will be able to vote for their favorite performer to win the “Audience Prize.” The festival will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1. For more information, visit the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival homepage.