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Terry Foster demonstrates the CoC Auditorium Organ with la joie de la vie

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On Sunday, June 1, 2014, Terry Foster played the first of the free, summer, every day, demonstrations of the organs on the campus of the Community of Christ World Headquarters in Independence, Missouri. Now sponsored by the Dome and Spire Foundation, the schedule varies between the Auditorium (blue dome, many high schools have had their graduations there) and the Temple (tall spire). Check the posted schedule for which building to go to on any given day.

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A certain joy of life really is useful for the members of the cadre of volunteer, highly proficient, organists from around the area, and sometimes guest organists from distant places, as the crowds generally number from a handful to a few dozen. The programs are always well-prepared and presented with plenty of information about the music, and an opportunity to meet the organist, to ask questions, and view the workings close up. These talented musicians always play to the filled seats, rather than bemoan the empty ones; too bad there is no BBQ stand.

Mr. Foster began his program with the well-loved J. S. Bach's (1685-1750) Fuga in g minor, BWV 578. Not only is this piece often played on organ, but on piano or harpsichord, orchestra, marching band, and miscellaneous groups, such as a saxophone Quartet.

"A Tuscan Adagio," by Franklin D. Ashdown, was a lovely contemplation-piece, moving through long chords; even the more complex chords were presented without the finger-in-your-eye approach of some pieces. A nice getaway from the hot spring weather.

"Sweet Sixteenths," a rag for organ by William Albright (1944-1978) is a spirited piece recalling the style of the "King of Rag," Scott Joplin. Mr. Foster is a master of setting the pipe organ, when needed, to not sound like your grandmother's pipe organ. In this case, the sound of a riverboat calliope could definitely be heard as Terry's fingers danced over the keys. It could even make one hungry for some ice cream.

Robert Elmore's "Rhumba," (2013) evoked memories of organ-accompanied silent movies, including sliding scales, ominous chords, whatever you need, it is there, even a little blues section. Mr. Foster, as creative as ever, took a little repeated staccato section and gave it a snare-drum sound with, perhaps a fife playing a solo over it.

"Love Lifted Me," Dale Wood took the familiar hymn-tune by Howard E. Smith, to improvise a theme and variations calling for a whimsical set of registrations to play several verses in different rhythms, and meters; intended as a comfortable piece for novice organ audiences.

The programs in the Dome and Spire Series tend to be crowd-pleasing, and short enough that whole families can attend; if worse comes to worst, a child can be easily led out into convenient spaces without a sense of disturbance.

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