James Kibbie Archives - Heidi Bender

Tag Archives for " James Kibbie "

March 3, 2013

Music from Sainte-Clotilde, Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival

On February 17th, 2013 I attended an organ concert presented by the Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival at thFirst Presbyterian Church in Ypsilanti, MI. Five of the six organists are students of James Kibbie at the University of Michigan. All pieces played were composed by former organists at Sainte Clotilde in Paris, France from 1863 to 1987:
  • César Franck, 1863-1890
  • Gabriel Pierne, 1890-1898
  • Charles Tournemire, 1898-1939
  • Joseph Ermend Bonnal, 1942-1944
  • Jean Langlais, 1945-1987
A complete listing of past and current organists at Sainte-Clotilde can be found here.

This concert was excellent. The organists may be students, but don’t let “student” fool you into assuming that are not first class organists. Most of the students already hold organists positions at area churches and are accomplished organists. 
Organ at First Presbyterian Church in Ypsilanti, MI
Like the Christmas Concert at First United Methodist Church, this concert showed two views of the organist and console on a screen. Two alternating views were displayed – hands on the key boards and feet on the pedals. 

Each organist shared a little about the piece they were about to play or about the composer. The information varied from fun fact to stories. Organist and composer Jean Langlais was blind!

The next Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival concert will be held on March 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Ypsilanti, MI. Program details can be found on their website: http://wp.ypsipipes.org/

April 22, 2012

First Presbyterian Church Ypsilanti Concert

Last Sunday, April 15, 2012, I traveled to the First Presbyterian Church in Ypsilanti, MI for a pipe organ concert. My friend, Arwana from church, drove along with me as she also enjoys organ music. According to their website, the church was built in the mid 1857 and remodeled in 1899. The front entrances have grand wooden doors. Inside, the crown modeling is magnificent along with the beautiful stained glass windows. The pews are wooden (but have cushions) with detailed carvings on the pew ends. The pews also have a slight curve to them.

The concert was put on by the Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival and featured students of Dr. James Kibbie from the University of Michigan. The program was design was interesting as four students performed one piece each in the first half of the program. Then after intermission five students (the same four as first half of program plus one more) each played one  of the five movements of Charles-Marie Widor’s Symphony VI in G Minor.  This symphony is bold, powerful, and captivating

Overall, the program was very enjoyable and the students preformed very well.  Unlike me, these students have been playing for many years with most starting on piano and/or organ at a young age. And although students, several are already successful organists holding position with churches and performing recitals.

John Woolsey played Free Fantasia on “O Zion, Haste” and “How Firm a Foundation”  by Willian Bolcom as his stand alone piece. This piece left me feeling a bit disconcerted and I wondered if this was the composer’s intent and if I was the only one that felt this way!

The third movement – Intermezzo – of Charles-Marie Widor’s Symphony VI in G Minor was performed by memory by Mathew Dempsey. He was the only student to play a piece from memory during the program.

Below is a photo of the organ and console. There are several pictures of the organ from when it was rededicated in on 2009 after being refurbished on the church’s photo page.

Pipe Organ at First Presbyterian Church, Ypsilanti, MI
March 11, 2012

Three Days – Three pipe organ concerts

In the past 52 hours I have attended 3 organ concerts!

First, last Friday during my lunch break, I went back to First Congregational Church for their Lenten organ recital. The parking garage near the church was full so parked in another garage which was about a 10 minute walk from the church.  I arrived at the church after the performance started and also there were not any programs left. Therefore,  I do not know the name of any of the pieces played or the performers. I did snap a few pictures of the organ. This picture shows the organ pipes and the console. There are many more pipes which are not visible.

Pipe organ at First Congregational Church, Ann Arbor, MI

On Friday evening, I attended an organ concert at Pease Auditorium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University with organist Bruce Neswick.  The program was titled “American Music on an American Organ”. Bruce is an excellent organist masterfully played through the program.  I didn’t take any pictures but if you follow the link to Pease Auditorium you will be able to see the stage and pipes. My impression is that the organ could be lowered through the stage floor when not in use.

My favorite piece of the performance was improvisations of the hymn All Creatures of Our God and King. This hymn is amazing! Bruce played it through several times changing the key and also playing the melody on the pedals. It was indeed wonderful to hear performed live. I was familiar with the hymn tune but not the words. Yesterday, I found this hymn in my hymnal and the words themselves are also fantastic.

Today, I was present at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Tecumseh, MI for an organ concert with organists from the University of Michigan. This program was “Happy Birthday, Dear Johann” and all pieces were composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750).  Professor James Kibbie introduced each piece and the organist playing the piece (he played a few of the pieces himself). James Kibbie has recorded every work of Bach which can be downloaded for free.


I learned today that Bach titled two pieces Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 and BWV 538. (BWV is the cataloging system for Bach’s pieces). BWV 565 is the famous piece that most will recognize. Professor Kibbie’s performance of it was impressive. The concert ended with another organist playing the BWV 538 piece.

The pipe organ at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is in the balcony.
View of pipe organ in balcony from the main level

The console (not visible from the main level)