Keith Scott Reas will be the featured performer at Broad Bay Congregational UCC’s organ concert on Sept. 30. The concert, with works from Bach to the contemporary Ethan McGrath, begins at 3 p.m. in the church at 941 Main St. Admission is free, with donations greatly appreciated to the church’s A Place For All Capital Campaign.
The community concert, an annual event, also stars the church’s 1875 Hook & Hastings organ. The congregation funded restoration of the organ by David E. Wallace & Co. of Gorham over a period of years, finishing in 2010.
Reas holds degrees in organ performance from Oberlin College, the University of Oregon and the Eastman School of Music. In June, Reas retired as director of music at St. Paul’s Episcoal Church, Chattanooga, Tenn., where he had served since 2009. He also had tenures in Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Ariz., Rochester, N.Y. and Richland, Wash. Choral conducting positions include the Alexandria Choral Society (Va.), the Women’s Chorus at the Catholic University of America, and Choral Arts of Chattanooga, where recent concerts included the Brahms “Requiem” and Paul Winter’s “Missa Gaia.” Hailed as “an organists’ organist” (Tucson Daily Star), he took first prize in the 1985 International Organ Playing Competition in Ann Arbor, Mich., and has performed across the United States and in England, Germany and Italy.
Recently moved to Rochester, N.Y., Reas continues to be active as an organist, accompanist and conductor. A former member of the church choir he directed in Washington, D.C. lives in Waldoboro, and that connection led him to play at a morning service last summer and to get to know the Hook & Hastings organ.
“I try really hard to develop a program that is particularly suited to the specific instrument that I'm playing, and that I hope will be engaging for the local audience,” Reas said. “For this concert, I'm playing a wide variety of pieces, from the late Renaissance, Sweelinck, to a brand new composition, McGrath, that I think will showcase the beautiful individual and ensemble sounds of this lovely instrument.
“I'm opening the program with a short piece by Jacques Lemmens, which was published in 1862 and very well could have been played on this organ when it was new. I'm closing the program with two compositions by the Romantic French composer Louis Vierne. Written in 1913-14, these pieces are also particularly well suited to the style and period of the Hook and Hastings. The centerpiece of the concert is one of my favorite Bach works, the ‘Prelude and Fugue in C Major,’ BWV 547, often referred to as ‘the 9/8’ because of its meter.”
Recent solo concerts include the XXXI International Organ Festival at the Church of Santa Rita, Turin, Italy; the Eastman at St. Michael’s Series, with clarinetist Margaret Quackenbush; the premiere of a new work for organ and brass ensemble by composer/conductor Douglas Hedwig with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet; the Artist Series at Somers (Conn.) Congregational UCC and at First Parish Church UCC, Brunswick.