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Former Radio City Music Hall Organist to Present Concert

Head shot of Bob Macdonald

Jan. 28, 2009 -

The University of Redlands will continue its celebration of the American Guild of Organist's International Year of the Organ with a presentation of "Silent Movies from the 1930s" with accompaniment by former Radio City Music Hall organist Robert MacDonald.

The concert is free and will be held in the Memorial Chapel at the university on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.

The program will feature the silent films Liberty (1929) with Laurel and Hardy, The Phantom of the Opera (1925) starring Lon Chaney, as well as The King Kong March from Max Steiner's score to the original 1933 film King Kong. Guest Artist Robert MacDonald will accompany the films on the university's famed Casavant Opus 1230 organ.

A native of Massachusetts, MacDonald earned bachelor and master degrees in Organ Performance from Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. He also holds the associate degree from the American Guild of Organists. MacDonald's career as a church organist began at the age of ten. In 1969, he was appointed as associate organist - choir director of The Riverside Church in New York City, and concurrently was director of music and organist at The Interchurch Center. In 1977, he resigned from the two New York positions to become director of music and organist at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey. During that time, he was also a staff organist at Radio City Music Hall. In 1989, MacDonald was appointed Organist - Choir Director at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, from which he retired in 2006. He now freelances in area churches and continues to play recitals and silent movie programs throughout the United States.

This program is being given as part of the University of Redlands' participation in the celebration of the American Guild of Organists' International Year of the Organ. Additional concerts will include Frederick Swann as the featured soloist with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Jon Robertson on March 7 and 8, performing the Organ Symphony No. 1 of Alexander Guilmant and Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 "Organ." Both works epitomize the grand symphonic style for which the Casavant organ was designed. For ticket information contact the Redlands Symphony at (909) 748-8018.

The celebration will conclude with a solo recital by French virtuoso Daniel Roth. Since 1985, Roth has been the titular organist at St. Sulpice, the famous Paris church where his predecessors were Charles-Marie Widor, Marcel Dupre and Jean-Jaques Grunewald. Dupre was a consultant on the design of the Casavant organ. The concert will be held March 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

For more information contact the School of Music at (909) 748-8700.

Contact: School of Music (909) 748-8700 (Phone)

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