America, America! Live in Merrill Auditorium

America, America! Stirring Music for the Pipe Organ

We are returning to Merrill Auditorium with a full audience – for the first time since December 2019!

Join Portland Municipal Organist James Kennerley for a kaleidoscopic celebration of patriotic music written for the King of Instruments. Featuring the 7,101 pipes plus just about every other bell, whistle, and toy stop of the Mighty Kotzschmar Organ, the program is sure to thrill and delight. Featuring iconic marches by John Philip Sousa (including the famous Stars and Stripes Forever), the program traces the story of America through a variety of lenses. As part of our ongoing commitment to the conversation on equality and equity in the arts, we will hear a Suite by one of the first major African-American female composers, Florence Price, as well as Scott Joplin’s iconic Maple Leaf Rag in a new transcription by James Kennerley. Also on the program is the highly evocative Adagio by Samuel Barber and Charles Ives’ outrageously virtuosic Variations on America. We will also hear a march by one of Portland’s first Municipal Organists, Will Macfarlane, the melody of which was rumored to be the favorite setting of “America the Beautiful” by the author, New England native Katherine Lee Bates. The program will also feature one of James’ iconic improvisations on submitted American themes.


John Philip Sousa (1854–1932): The Stars and Stripes Forever

Florence Price (1887–1953): Suite for Organ No. 1

William C. Macfarlane (1870–1945): America the beautiful

Scott Joplin (c. 1868–1917): Maple Leaf Rag

Léon Jessel (1871–1942): Parade of the wooden soldiers, Op. 123

John Philip Sousa: Liberty Bell March

Samuel Barber (1910–1981): Adagio for strings, Op. 11  arr. William Strickland (1914–1991)

Dudley Peele (1868–1940): Temple Bells

Improvisation on American themes

Seth Bingham (1882–1972): Roulade, Op. 9, No. 3

Charles Ives (1874–1954): Variations on “America”

72 minutes of music

87 minutes total presentation

Join us!

Concert Sponsors:  Bath Savings Institution and OceanView at Falmouth

Media Sponsor: Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Please note: this concert will be recorded for later viewing (for purchase). Camera equipment will be in the Auditorium during this performance. Purchase your access to the recording here.

Tickets are $18-$23, plus applicable PortTIX fees.

Tickets available through PortTIX, the trusted box office for The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ.

By PHONE at 207.842-0800 or ONLINE at


Health & Safety Information for Merrill Auditorium

Masks are required for all staff, volunteers and guests above the age of 2 years old

There are no physical distancing requirements

Merrill Auditorium undergoes enhanced daily cleaning including frequent wipe-downs of common areas and high-touch surfaces

Stay home if you are sick

Read the full document

As of 5/24/2021. All Health & Safety Protocols at Merrill Auditorium are subject to change.