Brick Church Music Series to feature renowned organist Nathaniel Gumbs

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 03-21-2023 10:59 AM

DEERFIELD — A renowned organist and Yale professor is coming to Deerfield as “The Brick Church” Music Series hosts the first of two spring shows.

Nathaniel Gumbs will perform on Sunday, March 26, at 3 p.m. at the First Church of Deerfield, 71 Old Main St., as the final leg of the 2022-23 season begins. The event is a fundraiser for the church and a suggested donation of $10 to $20 is requested at the door.

Hailing from the Bronx, Gumbs is the director of chapel music at Yale University. He holds a music degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, a master’s degree in music from Yale and a doctorate of musical arts from the Eastman School of Music.

First Church of Deerfield Artistic Director Jean Pitman Turner said she’s never met Gumbs before, but knew she wanted to bring him to Deerfield after finding a performance of his at Trinity Church in Manhattan on YouTube.

“Quite often I’ve listened to people in concert and have not been moved by their performance. They play beautifully but they don’t reach the audience,” Pitman Turner said. “I was mesmerized by his performance. … He really reached me.”

Additionally, Gumbs works with concert management company Karen McFarlane Artists Inc., which also represents Nathan Laube, who performed at the First Church of Deerfield in the fall.

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“I know I’m getting quality performers from the McFarlane agency,” Pitman Turner said. “That’s why I went with him, even though I haven’t seen him yet.”

Gumbs will perform pieces composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, Dieterich Buxtehude, Felix Mendelssohn and Fela Sowande.

“He likes the Baroque organ we have, and music from 17th, 18th and 19th century plays well on it,” Pitman Turner said.

The concert will begin at 3 p.m. and a reception in Deerfield Academy’s Caswell Library will be held following the concert. Masks are optional and handicap parking is located behind the church.

“It’s been a wonderful experience over many years in this area of being able to offer quality performances on our organ,” Pitman Turner said.

The 2022-23 music series will end its season on April 16 with a woodwind trio and piano performance.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.

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