Jonathan Davis returns to Bristol for St. Michael's showcase concert

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On a recent afternoon, organist Jonathan Davis sat behind the triple keyboards of St. Michael’s three-manual organ deftly working his fingers across the many keys, switches and foot pedals. With every subtle motion he made, augmented tones filled the church with magnificent sounds that embraced the handful of listeners inside the room.

“This is a wonderful organ,” Mr. Davis said after becoming lost in the sounds he created. “The organ has in it many different types of organs. You can use American style, French, German. It’s kind of a fun technology.”

On Sunday, Feb. 17, Mr. Davis will show off the organ’s abilities, as well as his love for music as part of St. Michael’s Community Concert Series.

St. Michael’s bought the organ five years ago, said Sandra Chabot, chairman of the Community Concert Series at St. Michael’s.

“It has not been presented to the community yet,” she said of the instrument. “We were thrilled that (Mr. Davis) accepted our invitation.”

Although Mr. Davis now resides in South Carolina, he has ties to Bristol where, in the mid-1970s he was the organist at St. Mary’s under Joan Roth who was the music director. The two worked together in the Peloquin Chorale and frequently played together as the St. Mary’s Concert Choir evolved. Leading up to the organ recital, Mr. Davis is having some fun assembling musical scores that will showcase the “essence of the music’s period.”

“The organ can bring the kind of sounds they were written for. In tribute to the angelic side, I’m going to play a piece from Crown Imperial March,” he said.

He’s also chosen the Bach Prelude and Fugue in E-flat, “one of Bach’s youthful compositions,” he said. “There are some crowd pleasers in there.”

Ms. Chabot said that they are calling it their Valentine’s Concert and is hoping to have 300 people in the audience. The concert will begin at 4 p.m. and will also feature John Black, a Barrington High School student who will perform a French Romantic piece.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $20 general admission, $15 for seniors and $10 for students.

After the months of preparation and weeks of rehearsals that have gone into the concert, Ms. Chabot is confident that the show will be a sell out. The fact that it’s a winter concert gives her only one thing to worry about.

“Somebody has to assure us there won’t be snow,” she said.

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