‘Jingles for James’ Result

The benefit concert for local musician James “Bull” Canty this past Sunday was  a fantastic success.  A few statistics from the afternoon’s proceedings:

Size of Audience: 300 (at least!)
Total Musical Numbers Performed: 23
Singers: 13
Instrumentalists: 8
Pianists/Organists: 6
Jazz Bands: 1
Chamber Choirs: 1
Brass Quartets: 1
Total Number of Musicians: 27

Total notes played by James Canty: 835,298 (estimate)

Dollars Raised: $7,594.41

James is very close to his goal of $9000, and the money raised from this event virtually guartantees that Bull will be able to get the surgical procedure that he needs.  If you missed the concert but would still like to make a contribution, you can send a check made out to First United Methodist Church, Myrtle Beach (put ‘James Canty’ in the memo line), 901 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577.  The church will write a check for the total of all the money collected made out jointly to James Canty and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Thanks to all for supporting this effort; I am proud to have been a part of it.  In the words concert coordinator Tim Koch, “The arts at work!  What a triumph!  Congratulations and thanks to all!”

Benefit Concert This Sunday

“Jingles for James:
A Benefit Recital for Eyesight”

Sunday, August 12 – 3:00 PM

First United Methodist Church
(901 N. Kings Hwy)

James “Bull” Canty, a local trumpet player and CCU alum, has a deteriorating retina disorder associated with diabetes that has threatened his sight in both eyes.  Last year he was able to raise the $8k or $9k dollars he needed to fix the more critical eye, and now he needs to have the same procedure for the other eye.  Time is of the essence as there is a foreseeable point of no return and permanent blindness in the remaining eye.
Bull has played with us at Trinity a number of times; he was in the brass quintet that played at Sebron Hood‘s funeral.
Featuring Professional Musicians from The Long Bay Symphony, The Carolina Master Chorale, Coastal Carolina University, Grand Strand bands, U-N-I and Soul Function, and Churches from across the Grand Strand.


Choir of St. John’s Cathedral, Albuquerque, sings at St. Thomas

The choir of St. John’s Cathedral, Albequerque, New Mexico (Maxine Thevenot, director; Edmund Connolly, assistant) was the guest choir for the Choral Eucharist at St. Thomas Church in New York City this past Sunday (June 17).

The Dean of St. John’s Cathedral is none other than Trinity’s former rector Mark Goodman, who was a curate at St. Thomas back in the day.

The choir sang interesting and engaging repetoire, and they sang it well.  Listen to it here.

Well done, good and faithful servant

Antone Aquino (1929-2012)

Since retiring to the Grand Strand area nearly twenty years ago, Antone and Margaret Aquino have been wonderful friends of the arts in general and to the music at Trinity in particular.

They met as undergraduates at the Crane School of Music (State University of New York, Potsdam) and their partnership in music and life was fixed from that point forward.  Antone was a gifted conductor as well as being a fine composer, singer, and organist.  Margaret always has been–and continues to be–a fabulous pianist with a particular love for accompanying.  Both are almost fanatical in their love of opera.  For all their talents as performers, the Aquinos are, at their core, teachers.  This was especially so of Antone—his years as music professor at Salem State College in Massachusetts were always spoken of with particular fondness and pride.

Antone vigorously rehearsing the Salem State College Glee Club in the early 1970’s

The cancer that Antone had dealt with for nearly two years had only begun to slow him down significantly in the last few months–and when death came to him on April 25, it came gently, with Margaret and their daughter Mary Margaret at his side.  Antone’s funeral took place at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church in Shalotte on May 3, and his ashes are interred in a very beautiful prayer garden on the church grounds.

On Sunday, May 6 at the 11:00 service, I played an ‘Aria’ for organ that Antone had written about ten years ago.  A manuscript of the piece was in a collection of scores that was at Trinity when I arrived.  It is a lyrical and nostalgic piece, and I was glad to add it to my repertoire and to play it in Antone’s memory.

Listen to Antone Aquino’s ‘Aria’ here:

Two New Blogs from Two Good Friends

If you are looking for something interesting and insightful to read on the Turgid Morass of the Interwebs, allow to recommend two new blogs from some friends of mine.

Arctic Organist

Jonathan Blamire, Grand Strand AGO Charter Member and former Music Director of Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church, Georgetown, SC

Jonathan and his wife Sarah moved to South Carolina from England about four years ago to take the music job at the Episcopal church in Georgetown.  I got to know him through the chapter of the American Guild of Organists that we formed in 2010.  Since that time, I have enjoyed working with him on AGO events and also getting a little glimpse into his music ministry at Prince George.  He has become a valued collegue and a true friend.

You can imagine what a transition it was in Jon’s life to move from England to South Carolina.  Well, now he has taken a church music post at a cluster of churches in the northern part of Norway, and has started a blog to chronicle the adventure:

“This is really an invitation to come on a voyage of discovery as I (the organist) move from sunny South Carolina (USA) to Lenvik (Norway). I’ve taken the position of Kantor 2 in the Lenvik parish of Den Norske Kirke (the Norwegian state church), and as I discover what this really means, I’ll post updates, hopefully with lots of pictures. This is not something that would ever have crossed my mind, but due to a series of ‘Godincidences’ I’m on the way. It’s not a journey I want to take on my own, so I rely on the Lord as He guides.”

Under the Cassock

Nicole Keller, former Organist and Choirmaster, Christ Church Episcopal, Hudson, Ohio

Nicole  is an Eastman classmate, fabulous organist, and one of my most treasured and beloved colleagues–she was the organist at our wedding.  Nicole is one of those annoyingly talented and intelligent kind of people who can do (and actually has done) just about anything she wants.  Her blog is about the place where music, faith, doubt, and everyday life intersect:

“I am a musician striving to be an artist and a person of faith while living in a world that strives to suck the artist and faith right out of you.”

Make sure you read the post on the Spiders of Bayrueth!

Hood Memorial Organ

I am pleased to announce that Trinity will soon be acquiring a new organ for its music ministry.  This instrument has been given in memory of Sebron Hood, our long-serving and well-beloved choirmaster and organist.  The organ will be completed sometime in the late fall or early winter of this year.

Sebron Hood, Jr, Trinity's Organist and Choirmaster from 1967 to 1991

The new organ will be small positiv (German spelling with no ‘e’) organ, also known as a ‘chest organ’ or a ‘continuo organ.’  While it is a true pipe organ, it is actually completely portable; it sound and its purpose will be quite different from present sanctuary organ.  It should be made clear that this new organ is in no way meant to be a replacement for the big organ in the choir loft–which is in fine condition, as anyone who attended our recent Hymn Festival can attest—but it will certainly make a fine companion to its larger brother.The choice of an organ seems a particularly appropriate way in which to memorialize Sebe’s ministry at Trinity.  Those who were here during those years will remember that Sebe never got to play a pipe organ, but held forth with an electronic instrument in the old church—the outline of where that instrument was can still be seen in the stonework in the floor of the present choir room.  When he died in December of 2010, friends and colleagues from around the country honored his memory with contributions to the church.  And just this year, Sebe’s wife Belle Miller and their children Harriette, Sebron III, and Spivey and their families have made a generous gift to make this project possible.  I join them in hoping that this organ will be a useful and lasting memorial to a beloved friend.


An extensive investigation took place during the summer and fall of 2011 in which a number or organ builders and professional colleagues from around the country were contacted for their experiences and opinions about various instruments.  In the end the builder that consistently received the highest recommendation (and provided the best value for money) was a Dutch firm called Henk Klop Clavecimbelbouw.

Continuo organ by Henk Klop, Garderen, The Netherlands

The Klop organ will have one keyboard (61 notes, no pedals) and 5 ranks of pipes.  The case will be carved from cherry wood, and the keys will be ebony and plum wood.  Its dimensions are 44 x 33 x 20 inches, and it will weigh 165 lbs.  The organ includes a wooden box for transport and storage box and is guaranteed by the builder for ten years.


While it will be possible it use this organ to lead worship (hymn singing) with a modest congregation in a small space like the chapel, its primary function would be as an accompanying instrument with choral and instrumental ensembles, with secondary utility as a solo instrument playing “hands only” repertoire.  Both of these functions apply equally to concert and worship settings.  Specific examples included but are not limited to:

  • Accompanying the children’s choir (lighter timbre with younger voices)
  • Continuo instrument with orchestral ensembles
  • Accompanying the adult choir or soloists on certain styles of repertoire
  • having an organ in the front of the Nave opens up the possibility of antiphonal ensembles from various places in the church
  • Playing a prelude or offertory either in the Nave or Chapel
  • Providing music for small weddings or funerals, especially in the chapel

For a better idea of what this organ looks and sounds like, I recommend the following YouTube video.

Poinsett Piano Trio This Saturday

David Gross, piano; Deirdre Hutton, violin; Christopher Hutton, violoncello

Saturday, January 28, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Music of Dvořák, Grieg, and Ravel

Free and Open to the Public

The Poinsett Piano Trio was formed in 2008 by David Gross (cello), Deirdre Hutton (violin), and Christopher Hutton (piano). All three members live in Greenville, South Carolina and teach at Furman University, a liberal arts college with a strongly performance-oriented music program.

The ensemble is named in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, a 19th-century statesman, physician, and botanist from South Carolina. Poinsett is most remembered today as the discoverer of the Mexican Poinsettia plant, whose bright red flowers are popularly included in festive Christmas decorations throughout the world.

Click here to see the concert program; for more information, check the trio’s website here.