Elon University / Today in Elon / Elon Community Church Celebrates Casavant Organ’s 40th Anniversary with Three Special Guests

The Elon University organist presents a recital at the Elon Community Church celebrating the 40th anniversary of the installation of the Casavant Organ with several recitals, including that of W. Thomas Jones on March 6.

Most certainly, COVID-19 has put many projects on hold in all of our lives. June 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the installation of the Casavant Organ at Elon Community Church.

The ECC had planned to celebrate. But with the restrictions in place, they resisted. Elon Community Church held a “Dedication Service” on September 14, 1980, and renowned organist Marilyn Kaiser presented a “Dedication Recital” on April 5, 1981. The organ was designed, built, and installed by Casavant Frerés Limited of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. It contains twenty-three rows with eighteen games. Mary Alice Bragg served as choir organist and worked hand-in-hand with Casavant in the design and installation of the organ. The set of chimes, originally installed in January 1966 and donated in memory of Marsha Lou Lankford, have been retained and incorporated into the design of Elon’s Casavant organ.

“We are thrilled to announce three special guest artists to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our sanctuary organ this spring 2022,” said Stephen Futrell, ECC Music Director and Director of Elon Choral Activities.

Joy Rust will debut on Sunday, February 13. Rust will be followed by University organist Elon W. Thomas Jones on March 6, and the series will conclude with Charles Hogan on April 3. All recitals will be at 2:30 p.m. at the Elon Community Church at 271 N Williamson Ave.

Jones’ recital on March 6 will feature classics by John Rutter, JS Bach, Hugo Distler, César Franck and Ignatius Sancho.

Jones holds a master’s degree in music and religion from Yale, where his teachers were Thomas Murray, Gerre Hancock and Charles Krigbaum. Later, he studied with Marilyn Keizer at Indiana University. A native of Mebane, he studied in high school with Robert Burns King at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington and earned his bachelor’s degree in organ from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida as a student of Paul Jenkins. He earned an associate degree from the Royal College of Organists in London after studying with Arthur Wills at Ely Cathedral, where he sang in the cathedral choir.

The recital is free and open to the public.

Norma P. Rex