Thursday, January 26, 2012


Last Sunday Cliff and I attended an organ concert in Los Gatos.   But that does not really tell the story of this remarkable musical extravaganza.  Actually this was two hands and two feet that comprised a full orchestra, conductor and choir.  I’ll have to explain.

According to the program, the organist, Hector Olivera “...was born in Buenos Aires.  His first teacher (who was his father) encouraged him to begin playing the pipe organ when he was three.”  Three?  “Two years later he was appointed organist of the Church of the Immaculate Conception.  At six, he entered the Buenos Aires Conservatory to study harmony, counterpoint, and fugue.  By nine he had composed a suite for oboe and string orchestra which was performed by the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra.”

Well, you get the idea.  Now there is no pipe organ installed at this auditorium, but Mr. Olivera brought his own digital touring organ, which he designed.  Actually he has two touring organs, and the one he brought is the somewhat smaller of the two.  Smaller in size, we were told, but not in performance.  Again from the program:  “It is a Roland Atelier AT-900 Orchestral Touring Organ.  It consists of eight units on wheels plus two small pieces.  The organ console itself weighs about 450 pounds.  There are also four large speaker units, 39 inches high and each weighing in at about 120 pounds.  In addition, the large sub-woofer measures 30 inches high and weighs about 400 pounds.  The seventh unit is the amplifier-mixer case, and of course there is a pedal board and bench.”

Mr. Olivera speaks English with a bit of an accent, and when he was telling us about bringing in his equipment, I thought he said something about the lack of “... a lovely duck.”  Huh?  I finally figured out he was complaining about the lack of a loading dock!  But they got everything in the building.

What makes this gentleman and his equipment so amazing is both the variety of music he plays, and the clarity of sounds that come out of his instrument.  He played classic pieces -- Bolero and a Bach piece.  The Bach was the only one that sounded like a pipe organ.  He played modern jazzy pieces, including a very jazzy sax solo.  He played gypsy (pardon me) geepsy violin music, Stephen Foster music (with a bit of  the William Tell Overture to lead off Camptown Races), George Gershwin music (American in Paris, complete with pedestrians, honking horns and barking dogs), as well as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, including the cannon at the end.

Did we enjoy it?  That’s an understatement!

Office cartoons --


  1. I think a whole evening of "geepsy" would be fun.

  2. How did I miss this yesterday?! Wow, what a cool concert to get to go to. My son minored in organ performance, and when he was a teen I always thought it a great instrument for a boy that age: you could make lots of noise and command everyone's attention!

    But it wasn't portable. That was the drawback. Sounds like this fellow got that part all straightened out!