CALAIS, Maine — An organ concert will be performed by Ray Cornils at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, on the tracker action pipe organ at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Calais.
The concert will be a rededication of the organ to celebrate its recent repairs and renovation carried out by David Wallace, organ builder from Gorham. Ray Cornils performed a concert on this organ in 2010 when its cracked windchest prevented air from getting to the lowest pedal pipes. The church raised more than $20,000 to pay for the repair work needed.
Cornils is the municipal organist of Portland, and minister of music at First Parish Church, United Church of Christ, in Brunswick. He is on the music faculty at Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine, and the Portland Conservatory of Music. He has given concerts throughout the United States and from Europe and Russia to New Zealand and Ecuador. He also performs with the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
His program for the Calais concert includes works by Bach and Handel and composers up through the 20th century.
The organ at First Congregational Churchwas originally was dedicated there in 1995. It is affectionately known as “Old Homer,” a name found written in pencil inside the organ case. It is believed to have been built around 1828 and was in service at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Old Town in the late 1800s.
When that church obtained a larger organ, it was bought by and restored for the St. Thomas a Becket Catholic Church in Canton, Mich. After the Congregational Church and its renowned Stevens pipe organ were destroyed by fire in 1992, “Old Homer,” then in storage, was bought by the church in Calais, where it was restored and returned to service in Maine once more.
Refreshments will be served following the concert. Donations to the organ fund will be accepted.