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OGCMA Presents Live Organ Recital Series at the Great Auditorium, Starting July 1

originally published: 06/25/2020

OGCMA Presents Live Organ Recital Series at the Great Auditorium, Starting July 1

(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA) will kick off its annual summer-long series of FREE ORGAN RECITALS at the historic Great Auditorium starting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.   The free recitals will take place on Wednesdays at 7:30pm, and Saturdays at 12:00pm (Note: no recitals on July 4, July 29 or August 19) through September 7th.

The recital series will fully be compliant with NJ Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders No. 152 and No. 156, which limit indoor gatherings in houses of worship to 100 people or 25% of a building’s capacity. 

“With a seating capacity of 5000+, and large open doorways, the Great Auditorium is ideally prepared to present live concerts within those safety guidelines,” said OGCMA President Michael Badger, adding that “concert attendees are required to wear masks in the Great Auditorium as well as on our beaches and boardwalks.”

The Great Auditorium is located at Pilgrim and Ocean Pathways in Ocean Grove, NJ.

Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium Pipe Organ is among the largest working pipe organs in the world, and is the heart beat of this historic Christian/Victorian seaside community.   The mammoth 13,000+ pipe instrument was built and installed in 1908 with original design innovations that became standard elements still extant in modern organ construction. It is made of over 40,000 feet of California No. 1 Sugar Pine and weighs 20 – 25 tons. In its illustrious 108-year-history, this remarkable instrument has been played by numerous distinguished organists, including Will C. MacFarlane, Clarence Kohlman, Josephine Eddowes, Harold Fix, Clarence Reynolds, Beverly Davis, Jon Quinn, and Robert Carwithin.



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Organ Recital Schedule

Wednesdays at 7:30 PM   (July 1, 8, 22, Aug 5, 12, 26) GORDON TURK, OGCMA Resident Organist 

Saturdays at 12 Noon  (July 11, 18, 25, Aug 1,8, 15, 29) GORDON TURK, OGCMA Resident Organist  

Wed July 15 at 7:30 PM MONTE MAXWELL, US Naval Academy  



About the Organists

Now celebrating his 47th season in Ocean Grove, Gordon Turk is a critically acclaimed concert organist whose “athletic performance brings lots of flair to the organ console” (Flint Journal). His playing is “a seamless integration of interpretation and virtuosity” (Newark Star Ledger), and “it is a moving experience to hear him” (New York Times).  Turk has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Ukraine, and Japan. His concert tours, both in the USA and abroad have included solo recitals in concert halls, universities, cathedrals and churches, performances in organ festivals, and concerts with orchestras. He has been awarded competition prizes for performances of the music of J.S. Bach and was also a winner in the national improvisation competition of the American Guild of Organists. He has presented masterclasses for organ interpretation and improvisation in the United States and abroad. He has been selected to perform the dedicatory recitals of many new pipe organs, and was one of five national organists selected to perform in the opening concerts of the new organ in Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center (2006). His collaborations with other musicians in chamber music concerts with organ, include principal instrumentalists of the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and other distinguished musicians, including American folk singers Peter, Paul & Mary. A graduate of the famed Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, he studied organ with the legendary organist and teacher Alexander McCurdy, and piano with Vladimir Sokoloff.  He continued his organ and composition studies with McNeil Robinson, and harpsichord with Eugenia Earle, receiving masters and doctorate degrees, with honors, from the Manhattan School of Music, in NYC. Dr. Turk is professor of organ at Rowan University in NJ, where he combines his enthusiasm for teaching and historical research with his passion for making music a living, communicating art. This also informs his interest and experience in organ building and design, which has placed him in demand as a consultant for the construction of new pipe organs and restorations of historic organs. He is also Organist & Choirmaster of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Wayne, PA, where he directs two choirs, a professional vocal ensemble and instrumentalists, presenting classical sacred music of many centuries in the context of liturgical worship.  He has recorded several CDs of organ music and is now preparing for new ones.

Monte Maxwell (Wednesday July 15) is the Chapel Organist, Director of Chapel Music and Director of the Midshipmen Symphony at the United States Naval Academy.  A native of San Angelo, TX, Maxwell earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, studying with Emmet G. Smith. He was then invited to study at the Curtis Institute of Music with John Weaver where he received an Artist Diploma, Curtis' highest degree. Mr. Maxwell earned his Master of Music Degree from the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, also studying with John Weaver. While studying in Philadelphia, Mr. Maxwell was an Associate Organist at the John Wanamaker Store, playing the famed six-manual organ, the largest playing organ in the world. At the Naval Academy, Mr. Maxwell serves as the principal organist for the Protestant and Catholic services as well as playing for weddings, memorial services, funerals, and performances throughout the year. He commands the five-manual, 268-rank organ in the main chapel, which has recently undergone substantial enhancement under his direction and design. His additional responsibilities include working with the Protestant and Catholic Chapel Choirs, the Protestant Chapel Chorale, the Men's and Women's Glee Clubs, and conducting the annual winter musical theater productions as well as the Naval Academy Midshipmen Symphony Orchestra. He oversees the annual Chapel Organ Concert series which features guest performing artists from across the United States. He has also served as the Chairman of the Naval Academy Music Department and Director of Instrumental Activities. Mr. Maxwell's annual All Saints' Day Organ Concert has become a staple of the Naval Academy and greater Annapolis cultural community. The standing-room-only event drew some 3,000 people into the Naval Academy Chapel in 1998, breaking all records in attendance for any event throughout the Chapel's history. Due to the popularity of this event, the Academy now offers two ticketed performances of this concert each year. He has performed in the United States, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Canada, and is an active member of the American Guild of Organists. In his free time, Mr. Maxwell is an avid roller coaster enthusiast and a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.


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