A Leading Organist Presents Music of Many Centuries
Dedication of Boothman Hall
Wesley Harrison Hall will play the Donald L. Boothman Memorial organ concert, Back to the Future, at 2 pm Sunday, October 24, 2021, at The Stone Church, 283 Main Street, Gilbertville
01031. At this event, Friends of the Stone Church will dedicate the Donald and Kaye Boothman Hall at the Stone Church. Advance tickets @ $15.00 are available through FriendsoftheStoneChurch.org or reservations may be made by email to Events@FriendsoftheStoneChurch.org.
Friends of the Stone Church (FOSC) are carrying on Donald Boothman’s thirty-year tradition with this superb organ concert. 600 years of music come together in the stunning 19th-century environment of the Stone Church, from popular Renaissance tunes and Italian toccatas to masterworks by Johann Sebastian Bach. Hall, a highly acclaimed organist, will play original organ works from his recent studies in Germany, as well as New England-inspired improvisations. Among the other composers are Buxtehude, Frescobaldi, Mendelssohn, and Brahms.
Wesley Hall is a dynamic organist and early music specialist with a passion for translating the music of the past into the context of today’s audience. International journal The Diapason singled him out as a “20 Under 30” U.S. leader in organ, harpsichord, and sacred music. He united his twin passions for music and liturgy at the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, going on to receive a Diploma in Organ Performance from Oberlin. In 2020, his passion for early music took him to Lübeck, where he spent the year as a Gasthörer – visiting scholar – with prominent German organist Arvid Gast and the splendid historical instruments of North Germany. He is known as “Westpiper” on TikTok, where he has over a hundred thousand followers.
Wesley Hall has concertized across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and his videos have garnered millions of positive comments. His particular passion is bringing live organ performance to yet more people who have not yet experienced this music on a high level.
In 2019, Wesley Hall produced a documentary video about the Johnson tracker organ, nearly unaltered since the 19th century. This short film is freely accessible via the Music link on the FOSC website, where concert videos by Peter Krasinski and Jonathan Wessler can also be viewed. The Gilbertville organ is No. 6533 in the Organ Historical Society’s pipe organ database.
Donald L. Boothman, whom we remember with this concert, was a professional singer, teacher, and music commentator, whose beginnings as a Singing Sergeant with the U.S. Air Force launched his career. He moved to Hardwick in 1983 and taught voice at Clark University (Worcester) until his death in 2016. In 1990, he founded Friends of the Gilbertville Organ (FOGO), which presented a diverse series of concerts at the Stone Church over the course of twenty-one years. His advocacy for the 1874 Johnson & Son pipe organ brought about the preservation of the instrument and attracted followers throughout New England. His co-founding Friends of the Stone Church in 2015 also helped to launch the active preservation of these historic buildings. The Stone Church, built as the Gilbertville Trinitarian Congregational Church, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Massachusetts Historical Commission recently awarded FOSC a major matching grant to continue preservation work on its lofty stone steeple.