207: Portland’s new municipal organist comes with pink socks and a British accent

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The city of Portland is one of only two in the entire country to have an on-staff organist. It’s an honor that was recently bestowed on James Kennerley.

“James Kennerley grew up in England, but came to New York City where he’s been conducting, composing, and traveling the globe as an organist.

He’s the latest municipal organist for the city of Portland; a city his wife first introduced him to, and he instantly fell in love (with more than just the city).

James knew music was going to be a part of his life at an early age, but he wasn’t allowed to play the organ until his teenage years. The 33-year-old has spent years making up for that, and now plays the Kotzchmar Organ inside of Merrill Auditorium beautifully.

Because there are so many variations of sound that come from the organ, James calls preparing for a concert, ‘mapping a flight plan.’ ”

– Amanda Hill, 207, February 27, 2018


Click the video below to watch the interview with James by Amanda Hill

Click here to watch James play the William Tell Overture, also known as the Lone Ranger theme song.