College organist from Philadelphia entertains 200 on campus

By Kendra Loh
Staff Writer

Many people tapped their feet and swayed to the music of nationally renowned organist Alan Morrison while he entertained 200 people at the 24th annual McAfee Organ Concert Oct. 23 in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel.

The Department of Music sponsored the concert.

Morrison performed seven pieces from composers such as J.S. Bach, Harold Stover, Dan Locklair and Petr Eben.

At the end of the performance, Morrison explained that the last piece, titled “For All the Saints,” has significant meaning because it was composed by John Weaver, his “rather strict” professor in the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

The first time Morrison heard it played, he was “floored by the piece,” because it is witty, upbeat and unlike anything he had heard Weaver compose, he said.

Erika Sitton, senior music major, said that she enjoyed the variety of selections.

“I really enjoyed his finale piece and the story that he told about it,” she said.

Dr. Terry McRoberts, university professor of music, said Morrison played the organ with “excellence and musicality.”

“He showed a true mastery of the musical form of the repertoire,” McRoberts said. “The contrast between the first three selections and the contemporary selections created variety in the program.”

Morrison is recognized as one of America’s premier concert organists and has entertained audiences in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Benaroya Hall in Dallas, Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, Canada, Merrill Auditorium in Portland, and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

He also is a regular performer in the Kimmel Center, where he serves as an artistic adviser.

In addition to performing solo and orchestral recitals extensively in the United States, Morrison also has performed in various festivals in Canada, South America and Europe.

He is chairman of the organ department in The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and has served as the college organist at Ursinus College in Philadelphia for 17 years.

Morrison has recorded 10 CDs. His latest recording is a concerto by Eric Sessler on the new Dobson Organ from Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.

The organ in the chapel — which Morrison used to perform — was named in honor of Carolyn Townsend McAfee, an organ performance major of the class of 1961. 

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