Anna Visser-Co Editor
Acclaimed organist Douglas Cleveland filled the BJ Haan Auditorium with music Friday, Oct. 11, showing off the Casavant organ’s full range, and stunning his audience. “I don’t even know what to say,” said junior music education major Leanna Bentz. “I’ve never heard the organ played like that before.”
Cleveland played a variety of pieces from different time periods and styles, both classical and modern. The concert included a piece by English organist David Briggs that Cleveland commissioned in 2006. This particular piece, entitled “Four Concert Etudes,” closed the first half of the concert and featured extensive and impressive footwork on the pedals.
A camera was set up in the organ loft, and projected onto a screen onstage so that the audience could see Cleveland as he performed, greatly enhancing the experience for the audience.
“I loved being able to see it,” Bentz said. “His feet were on fire.”
The rest of the crowd clearly agreed, applauding generously for each piece. At the end of the first half, there were cries of “Bravo!” At the end of the concert, Cleveland received a standing ovation.
Despite his commanding performance, Cleveland had a calm, soft-spoken demeanor, and he expressed his gratitude at being invited to play as part of the Ringerwole Organ Series.
“I am honoured to share music with you and to be the first performer in the Ringerwole Series,” Cleveland said at the beginning of his concert.
At the end, he offered an encore, adding “Toccata and Fugue in d minor,” to the program because “(he hadn’t) played any Bach yet,” and “it’s one of the greatest hits for the organ.”
Of the performance and the organ series, Dordt keyboard teacher Marylou Wielenga said, “It was such an exciting day. I feel so blessed to be able to work with what (Ringerwole) started, and (Cleveland) is a fantastic performer.”