Question: What’s the only musical instrument you can walk through? Answer: The mighty Kotzschmar organ. You know the one; you may have been subject to its booming resonations during Catholic Mass as a child, or even currently. Well, there is more to that melodic apparatus than meets the eye, and Portland’s own municipal Kotzschmar organist and attendant to the organ in Merrill Auditorium, Ray Cornils, is out to reveal exactly what the instrument is all about.
The event is Kids & Kotzschmar: Family Concert, and it will take place at Merrill (20 Myrtle St.) on Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. Buy tickets at https://tickets.porttix.com/public/ (Adults $18, Seniors $16, Students $13, Kids 12 and under free). Families are invited to show up an hour before the concert to participate in instrument-themed activities and games.
Children (and interested caregivers) will learn how the Kotzschmar produces its incredibly broad range of sounds, as well as being let in early on the brand new sounds that Portland’s municipal instrument is capable of, thanks to recent adjustments and additions. Our organ is maintained and promoted by local nonprofit Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ (FOKO), founded back in 1981. They put on over a dozen concerts each year. You may remember the recent live scoring of the 1920 film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (publicized in these pages), a silent movie starring Drew Barrymore’s grandfather, John Barrymore. Boston-based organist Jonathan Ortloff accompanied the action in a fearfully good manner. This week, the spirit is lighter, so gather the brood and run downtown on Sunday.
In the meantime, FOKO needs the help of locals in order to promote concerts, maintain, repair and enhance the organ, sponsor lectures and organ demonstrations and tours and support their educational programs so that they can bring multisensory experiences like this one to kids in Portland and the outlying areas. Should you be inspired to give a little (or a lot), navigate to http://www.foko.org/product/donation/ and be as generous as you can.