Jackson’s touch, tone add new dimensions to the organ
GRAVENHURST — A funny thing happened before Ryan Jackson sat down to play the organ at TrinityUnitedChurch Thursday.
The guest soloist and the Trinity choir master Dan McCoy compared hands for a fun photo-op in the vestry.
Jackson, a tall and talented organist with the FifthAvenueBaptistChurch in New York City, put his right hand up against the left hand of McCoy, a shorter and also extremely talented organist who is host of the weekly August Organ Recital series.
Imagine McCoy’s left hand putting down the bass lines on the white keys, while Jackson’s right hand runs up and down the high notes on the black keys.
The two amazing keyboardists, friends and Muskoka natives — one from Bracebridge and one from Gravenhurst — made a playful musical connection like ET that carried over in a fabulous all-too brief 30-minute luncheon concert. McCoy assisted Jackson by turning the pages of the music to keep the sound flowing and filling the huge church that was full up to the balcony.
The 30-year-old Manhattan man was home for his annual summer holiday with his parents Nancy and Murray in Bracebridge — thus the dozens of Bracebridge residents in the pews.
Jackson, who obtained his BA music degree in organ at the University of Toronto, earned his Masters at Yale, then his Doctorate at Julliard — also both in organ studies.
For the past three years he has been firmly ensconced in front of the keyboard at Fifth Avenue, pumping out hymns on an organ with 8,000 pipes.
There he plays for the 2,000-member congregation that sees 750 people at Sunday services; while also leading three choirs: a 20-member professional ensemble, a semi-professional 40-voice choir, and a smaller 20-member congregational group.
He says now that he’s settled in and feels more comfortable, he plans to resume a fuller schedule of solo concerts.
In 2011 he was the featured soloist at Trinity when the refurbished Casaveates organ was re-dedicated.
It’s Jackson’s touch and tone that make him a sought-after soloist. They add a new dimensions to the organ.
Audiences can feel and hear the deft touch of his fingertips, as they melt into the ivory through perfectly-weighted his hand motions.
His sound is so much richer and fuller, exuding a confidence that comes from two decades of playing the organ with some of the best teachers in the world, including Paul Jacobs at Julliard.
Jackson opened his concerto with a four-part movement by Mozart that had the more than 300 on hand spell-bound.
He followed that up with a longer piece by Hayden Clockwork piece.
Next up in the Thursday free-will offering noon-hour recital series is Blair Bailey of St. Paul’s UnitedChurch with William Wei on piano.
On Aug. 28 Francine Nguyen-Savaria of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Belleville performs. She is the recent winner of the Osborne Organ Competition.
McCoy and Jack Hutton will play a silent movies tribute on organ and piano to Charlie Chaplin Friday Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
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