Seton Hill Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to Hold Annual Grant Recital February 23

The Seton Hill University Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will hold its Annual Grant Organ Recital featuring guest organist Dr. John Schwandt, Professor of Organ at the University of Oklahoma. The non-ticketed event is open to the public, but guests are invited to make a $10 donation to the grant fund.

The concert will take place on Sunday, February 23 at 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Greensburg, 300 South Main Street, Greensburg.

Guest organist Dr. John Schwandt is a nationally acclaimed performer and has been a featured performer for conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society.  Select performances have also been featured on American Public Media’s Pipedreams broadcasts.  Equally at home on a classical or theatre pipe organ, he is known for his award-winning improvisational skills, his musical versatility, and his ability to excite and engage audiences of every kind.

Dr. Schwandt began his formal organ study with Dr. George Damp at the Lawrence Conservatory.  His undergraduate studies were at St. Olaf College under the tutelage of Dr. John Ferguson.  Graduate degrees, as well as the prestigious Performer’s Certificate, were earned at Indiana University (Bloomington), where he was a student of Dr. Larry Smith.  Dr. Schwandt placed first by a unanimous jury decision in the 1998 National Competition in Organ Improvisation held by the American Guild of Organists in Denver, Colorado.

The Seton Hill University Chapter of the American Guild of Organist’s Grant Recital is now in its 27th year and has provided Seton Hill organ and sacred music students with about $50,000 to assist with their educational expenses. 

The first half of this year’s Grant Recital, which is played on the largest organ in Westmoreland County, includes organ transcriptions of the works of J. S. Bach and Edvard Grieg and hymn improvisations by Paul Manz.  The second half includes a showing of the 1929 silent film “Liberty” starring Laurel and Hardy with organ accompaniment and an improvisation on submitted themes.