Organist brings Mozart to Raleigh’s New Year’s festivities

12/21/2013 10:10 AM

12/21/2013 10:11 AM

A few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Fayetteville Street, classical music fans will get their chance to ring in the new year in a more relaxed fashion at Edenton Street United Methodist Church.

For the third year in a row, church organist Josh Dumbleton will open the sanctuary for First Night Raleigh and show off one of the largest pipe organs in the Triangle. This year, he’s offering a “Mostly Mozart” performance with two fantasies that are rarely performed.

Many classical fans aren’t familiar with Mozart’s organ compositions, but the “king of instruments” was a favorite of the famous Austrian composer.

“The whole Mozart family were organists,” Dumbleton explained.

Dumbleton’s music career started with childhood piano lessons, but he soon become enamored with the larger instrument and began teaching himself the organ as a teenager.

“It can portray or sound like many different kinds of instruments,” he said. “There’s such versatility in it.”

Dumbleton is currently pursuing a doctorate in musical performance at UNC-Greensboro while serving as Edenton Street’s associate music director full-time.

He arrived at the downtown Raleigh church a few years after earning his master’s degree in music, and several years after the church’s brand-new Letourneau pipe organ was installed in 2007. With the exception of the organ at Duke University’s chapel, it’s the largest such instrument in the Triangle.

And while many churches only fire up their organs for traditional services and hymns, Edenton Street mixes classical pieces into its worship programs and hosts regular performances for the broader public.

“We do a wide variety of things here,” he said.

While Dumbleton is the only organist on the New Year’s Eve calendar, he’ll be joined on the First Night Raleigh lineup by musicians and performers from around the globe at 30 downtown venues. So after hearing Mozart on the organ, revelers can head down the street to hear New Orleans funk on City Plaza.

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