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Musical performances are a gift to the community. Concerts last about an hour and refreshments are served afterward.

Lake Grove Presbyterian Church Organist and Music Associate Jeff Wood will open the churchs concert series Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. with organ music composed by women and people of color. The concert is free and open to all.

As a gift to the congregation and community Lake Grove Presbyterian Church will again offer a series of concerts. The series opens at 2 p.m. Sept. 29 with a program titled Diversity and Inclusion in Organ Music presented by Jeff Wood, the church's organist and music associate.

"In the past we have taken a freewill offering at the concerts," said Wood. "But this year we want people to just come and enjoy the music. The concerts last about an hour, and are followed by a reception. It's all free and all are welcome."

The program for the first concert features music composed by women and people of color, including "Prelude in G Major" by German composer and pianist Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn; Nigerian ethnomusicologist, organist, pianist, composer, choral conductor, Godwin Sadoh's "Impressions from an African Moonlight;" American composer Emma Lou Diemer's "Psalms for Organ;" Chelsea Chen's "Three Taiwanese Folksongs;" the three movements of American composer Gwyneth Walker's "Sanctuary" and Mexican composer Ramon Noble's "El Flautista Alegre" and "Toccatina."

Wood joined the music team at LGPC in 2013. Prior to coming to Oregon he pursued a career as organist, pianist and accompanist. Highlights of his career include performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston College Chorale, and Connecticut Chamber Choir, and musical direction of several productions by the Milford (Conn.) High School Drama Club; and solo recitals at such notable venues as Methuen Memorial Music Hall, and Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston. Since moving to the Northwest, he has been featured as a soloist in performances at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, St. James Lutheran Church, First Prebysterian Church, Temple Beth Israel, and The Old Church Concert Hall, in addition to the many worship services and concerts held at LGPC.

Wood holds performance degrees from College of the Holy Cross and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and was awarded First Prize at the Augustana Arts National Undergraduate Organ Competition for his performance of Handel's Organ Concerto in B-flat Major.

The organ at LGPC was originally installed in 1975 by Balcom and Vaughan Pipe Organs, Inc. It remained largely unchanged until the sanctuary was remodeled in 2008, and Bond Organ Builders, Inc. was contracted to help the organ fit the newly designed space. The result was a reconfiguration and enlargement of the existing stoplist, a number of new pipes and the visually striking facade that greets parishioners as they enter the sanctuary.

The latest improvements to the instrument are a new console and solo tuba stop. The existing 1976 console was left largely unchanged during the 2008 remodel, and it was beginning to show its age. Additionally, its placement in a "pit" on the pulpit side of the chancel made for difficult sightlines to the director. The new console, designed and built by Bond Organ Builders, Inc., resolves these issues. It is moveable, and can be positioned anywhere on the chancel that seems appropriate for a given Sunday, adding more flexibility to the worship space. Keyboards and stopknobs were chosen for their reliability, and arranged so that everything is within easy reach for the organist. In addition, the 61 new tuba pipes join forces with the 1,579 already in use, and lend a powerful new solo voice to the organ's color palette.

The concert series will continue with the traditional Bells and Brass holiday concert featuring members of the Oregon Symphony joining the church's Covenant Bell Choir with concerts at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

In spring the concert theme shifts to the music of Mozart, Wood says.

The church will present New York-based Mozart for Munchkins Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. with concerts perfect for the preschool crowd. Mozart for Munchkins creates a relaxed, interactive and engaging environment where families can experience and enjoy the wonders of classical music. The series concludes with Mozart Madness which features LGPC's 100-voice Sanctuary Choir, soloists and orchestra presenting Mozart's "Coronation Mass." This concert will be presented at 7 p.m. June 6 and again at 2 p.m. June 7.

Lake Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 4040 Sunset Drive in Lake Oswego. To learn more visit lakegrovepres.org or call the church office at 503-636-5656.


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