Music has always played a central role in my life. I started taking piano lessons at the ripe age of six and have been singing with various choirs for years. But, I have always been truly fascinated by the organ. I remember sitting in Merrill Auditorium with my parents as a child in utter amazement. I remember feeling the deep bass notes vibrate through me, staring at the shining row of façade pipes above the stage, and hearing so very many different sounds – trumpets and flutes, reeds and strings and something that I couldn’t identify that sounded like church (which I now know are those wonderful organ diapason stops). There were loud notes and soft notes, low notes and high notes, and the most amazing thing of all? The organist was using his feet to play this instrument! I didn’t know then that the Kotzschmar had thousands of pipes behind that beautiful façade. My parents said that the pipes made the music, so there was really only one reasonable explanation for all of these glorious sounds coming from so few visible pipes: it must be magic.
Since joining FOKO, I have learned that my childhood self wasn’t all that far off in my belief in the magical qualities of the Kotzschmar. The magic isn’t in the inner workings of the organ – thanks to the dedication of the FOKO docents, I have been inside the instrument and have seen the ranks of pipes that make all of those glorious notes. No, the magic is in the dedication of the people who love and believe in this instrument. It is in the commitment of the board members and docents who work tirelessly as ambassadors for the organ and the legacy left to the City of Portland by Cyrus Curtis and Hermann Kotzschmar. It is in the talent of organists who travel from up the street and around the world to bring their unique styles to the Kotzschmar bench. It is also in the support of our audiences and donors, whose generosity allows FOKO to carry out our mission to preserve, maintain and promote the
Kotzschmar Organ through concerts, tours, educational programs and other activities.
We hope that you will join us for some of the amazing concerts that we have planned in the months to come. I look forward to meeting you, and to hearing about your experiences and encounters with this wonderful, magical instrument.
With warm regards,