Porter returning to play church organ

  • The First Church of Deerfield. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • William Porter, a pianist, will perform at the First Church of Deerfield on Oct. 27. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • The organ at the First Church of Deerfield in Old Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The organ at the First Church of Deerfield in Old Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz

  • The pipes of the organ at the First Church of Deerfield in Old Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 10/24/2019 8:50:53 AM

William Porter gave the dedicatory recital of the First Church of Deerfield’s organ in 2004, when he was living in Amherst. Fifteen years later, the Rochester, N.Y., resident is returning to perform a concert for “The Brick Church” music series.

Porter is an established organist whose teaching resumé includes the Eastman School of Music, McGill University in Montreal and Yale Divinity School. The concert, co-sponsored by the Springfield chapter of the American Guild of Organists, is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Oct. 27 and last an hour to an hour and a half.

“I’m really looking forward to being back,” he said last week.

Porter said he remembers christening the organ, which was made by Richards, Fowkes & Co. in Tennessee. Jean Pitman Turner, the artistic director of the music series, said it was delivered in 2002, when the lengthy installation began.

“It’s just a fabulous instrument,” Porter said.

He mentioned the concert’s first section will be improvised as part of a demonstration. This will be followed by music by Johann Sebastian Bach. After an intermission, Porter said, there will be music by Georg Böhm, one of Bach’s teachers and a leading composer of his day. The concert will end with another piece by Bach.

Porter said he is also looking forward to the venue, which he described as beautiful and well-preserved.

According to his biography on the Eastman School of Music’s website, Porter has performed at major international festivals and academies, including the North German Organ Academy, the Italian Academy of Music for the Organ, Organfestival Holland, the Göteborg International Organ Academy, the Lausanne Improvisation Festival, the Festival Toulouse les Orgues, the Boston Early Music Festival, the McGill International Organ Academy, Eastman’s Improvfest, and the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists.

Porter said he has served on the faculty at the Eastman School of Music from 2001 to 2013 and again from 2015 to present day. The man holds degrees from Oberlin College, where he also taught organ and harpsichord from 1974 to 1986, and from Yale University, where he was director of music at the divinity school from 1971 to 1973. He also serves as organ consultant for the Constellation Center, a five-hall, world-class performing arts venue to be built in the Boston area.

A reception will follow the concert. There is a suggested donation of $10 to $20. More information about The Brick Church Music Series can be found at bit.ly/31oPUfH.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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