St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, will celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the dedication of its Berghaus pipe organ with a concert by renowned organist Ken Cowan on Sunday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.00 and $10.00 for students, senior citizens (65+), and WVIA members. Tickets may be purchased at the door or from the St. Stephen’s office Monday through Thursday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Ken Cowan is one of North America’s finest concert organists and is praised by audiences and critics alike for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique and imaginative programming. His recent performances include appearances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, Spivey Hall, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. He is also featured regularly in concerts and at organ conventions throughout the world, most notably at the conventions of the Organ Historical Society and the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
It was Cowan’s musicality, technical mastery, expertise in transcriptions of orchestral works and creative programming that led Canon Mark Laubach to select him as the perfect organist to highlight the anniversary the Berghaus pipe organ. In a recent concert review, Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News wrote, “Cowan was at his most dazzling in transcriptions of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1. Sounds shifted, swelled and diminished in apparently limitless variety, all while Cowan dispatched dizzying arrays of notes.”
In 2000, the “Polish the Gem” Organ Campaign was officially heralded with a gala concert by the Choir of Westminster Abbey from London, England. The dedicated efforts of the many involved in the “Polish the Gem” Organ Campaign was completed in 2003 and resulted in the acquisition of a glorious new retrofitted Berghaus pipe organ, which has become the cornerstone of the music at St. Stephen’s.
A truly stunning instrument, the Berghaus pipe organ enhances the Anglican liturgical tradition as well as secular transcriptions. Purchasing a new or newly refurbished Berghaus pipe organ is a “once-in-a-lifetime” project and few churches have the opportunity to do so. Berghaus organs are designed as aural and visual masterpieces. They must be exciting to the ear as well as the eye and are built specific to the space they will occupy. Berghaus Pipe Organs were the founded in 1967 by Leonard G. Berghaus, a gifted educator and organist whose early passion for the pipe organ prompted him to seek out extensive training in the art of organ building with a special emphasis on tonal design, voicing and the various forms of key and stop actions.
St. Stephen’s Pro Cathedral was built in 1897 and consecrated in 1899. It is the fifth Church edifice built in the same location and was designed by Philadelphia architect Charles Marquedant Burns, Jr. (1838-1922). St. Stephen’s has a rich history and Anglican tradition. Current services are held on Sundays at 8 AM and 10:30 AM under the leadership of Father Daniel Gunn. This concert is presented by the Music at St. Stephen’s Committee.