It’s not every day you get to hear the Performing Arts Center’s majestic Forbes Pipe Organ played by a master of the craft. Last September saw a visit by virtuoso organist Cameron Carpenter, who wowed audiences with his glittering showmanship, nimble limbs, and eclectic selections ranging between Kate Bush and a musical interpretation of Goethe’s haunting poem "Der Erlkoenig."
It’s a tough act to follow, but someone’s got to do it. The next concert to showcase the magnificent instrument will be the fifth annual Forbes Pipe Organ Holiday Concert and Sing-Along, featuring Cal Poly University Organist Paul Woodring playing a collection of holiday carols, alongside performances by Vocal Arts Ensemble and the Central Coast Children’s Choir. Audience members are encouraged to join in song for this special interactive event, which takes place at the Performing Arts Center on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12. Visit pacslo.org or call 756-ARTS.
Speaking of all those things …
And while we’re on the topic of Carpenter, choirs, and Christmas carols: People who were present at the organist’s San Luis Obispo recital may be interested to know that he’s recently released a holiday single, the sales of which will benefit the American Boychoir School. Carpenter has re-imagined Leroy Anderson’s "Sleigh Ride as" “a kind of campy Christmas etude,” he writes, “as I was curious to find out if the classic song could also be something virtuosically challenging to play. … "Sleigh Ride" is so well-known, some would say well-worn, that it was vitally important to bring something new to it.”
In a recent YouTube video of the performance, the agile Carpenter can be see playing the melody with just his right foot—using his other limbs to provide, press materials explain, “countermelodies, accompanimental figures, and color changes.”
The piece is currently available on iTunes.