Music spanning the centuries, and ranging from familiar hymns to modern secular works will be part of an organ concert at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough on Sunday, November 24 at 5:00 pm. The concert is free and the public is invited.
The concert will feature the Woodberry & Harris pipe organ, recently acquired as a gift from Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Shrewsbury. One of about 30 organs the Boston-based Woodberry & Harris made, it was constructed in about 1892 and served its first congregation in Abington for 60 years. It was then considered worn out and stored for several decades. Tthe organ was rebuilt for the Shrewsbury church in 1982 and was disassembled, fine-tuned and reassembled at St. Stephen this summer.
Stan Hanson, the music director at St. Stephen, will play a program designed to showcase the various sounds and diversity of the small pipe organ, and will open with Trumpet Voluntary, from John Stanley (1712-86). Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott, a choral prelude from Johann Nicolaus Hanff (1633-1711) follows. It is based on the familiar Martin Luther hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God. Dietrich Buxtehude’s Nun Bitten Wir, also a choral prelude, comes third, and then the audience gets the opportunity to sing.
Hyfrydol is a popular hymn tune by Paul Manz (1919-2009). A variety of lyrics have been set to this tune, thus people know it by many names. At this event, just a week before the start of Advent, concert-goers will sing it as Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.
The program also includes Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, J.S. Bach (1685-1750) from Cantata 147, arranged by Hal H. Hopson; Prelude and Fugue in E-minor (BWV 533) “The Cathedral” J. S. Bach, and three pieces by American composers: Impromptu, David Lasky (born 1957), Variations to the Sicilian Hymn, Benjamin Carr (1769-1831), and Trio in a Style of Bach, “Alles Was Du Bist,” Billy Nalle (1921-2005). Hanson notes that both the Lasky and Nalle selections are examples of music drawing on theatre organ styles.
Concluding the concert will be Festival Toccata, Percy E. Fletcher (1879-1932), which “demonstrates without apology the full tonal resources of this instrument,” Hanson said. His hope is to “give people an appreciation of the organ not only as a church instrument but also capable of exhibiting other styles of music.”
Hanson, a resident of Hudson, has been the music director at St. Stephen for 12 years, but got his first job as a church organist at age 16, more than 50 years ago. At that time, he played the piano, and needed a little instruction to make the transition. Attracted by the “color and sound of the organ, I knew it was something I wanted to do.” He went on to study organ in college and beyond and has served churches in Maine, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
He holds a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Akron and has taken additional graduate study in organ, education, music education and musicology, and church music at Boston University, Framingham State College, University of Lowell, Curry College and Westminster Choir College. He also studied improvisation at Westminster Choir College with Otto Kramer. He is a Colleague of the American Guild of Organists.
Stan began piano lessons in the third grade, and continues not only to play piano during church services, but also teaches piano part-time at Mascari Piano Studios. In addition to playing the organ and piano at worship services at St. Stephen, Hanson directs the choral and handbell choirs. He has been active in community music, having been piano accompanist for the Worcester Youth Chorus and the Rivers Edge Youth Chorus and he served as music director for several shows at Hudson High School. While music has been a loved and active avocation for Stan, his career was in administration and transportation logistics.
For more information about St. Stephen Lutheran Church, visit the church’s Facebook page or website, www.saintstephenlutheran.com. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org). Sunday worship is at 10:00 am, preceded by Sunday School for all ages at 9:00. Coffee and social hour takes place at 11:00.
The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Stow, Sudbury, Maynard, and Bolton. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the nation’s largest Lutheran church, with approximately four million members split into 65 synods, or territories, across the United States and the Caribbean.