Recital to showcase rebuilt organ at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hot Springs

05-12-14 Bath St. Luke’s Organ Recital

By Bonnie Ralston

The sanctuary at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hot Springs underwent a renovation just over a year ago.  As part of that renovation it’s 1959 pipe organ was completely rebuilt.   A recital is planned for Friday evening to showcase the organ.  

Jonathan Cook is the Organist and the Music Director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. 

“I wanted to bring in what I call a real organist to come show us what it can really do,” says Cook.  “And so we invited Ted Bickish from R.E. Lee Church in Lexington to come over and do a recital for us.  And he’s a recent graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, which is esteemed as one of the best conservatories in the country, and he’s an extraordinarily talented and fine musician, organist.  And he’ll be playing a program for us called Bach and His Admirers.   And so he’s playing music by Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest organists and composers of all time, and then playing a lot of music by composers who admired him and one work by a composer who Bach himself admired.”

In the course of four months, the organ was gutted and it’s 1950s electronic parts were replaced with twenty first century digital electronics. 

“Basically an organ is like having a small orchestra at your fingertips, an orchestra of pipes in a sense, and so you have lots of different instruments,” says Cook.   “The organist can sit and choose what sounds he uses.”

Music cut — “Flute Solo” by Thomas Arne

“And so we had about twelve instruments before, that’s with the twelve ranks, and now with the digital expansion, this is now what’s called a digital hybrid instrument, we have now twenty five ranks of pipes,” says Cook.  “And if you think of that mathematically, you can combine those sounds in any way.  So when you have twelve ranks of pipes you don’t just add those, you think of that as multiplication.  So when you have now twenty five ranks of pipes, that’s an exponential increase in the sound possibility so the instrument is now a whole musical wonderland in and of itself.”

Music Cut — “Toccata” by Johann Pachelbel

“I am really looking forward to seeing what Ted does with this wonderful instrument,” says Cook.  “To see what kinds of sounds, how he combines the sounds, into really what I think is going to be kind of like coming to a very symphonic concert in this beautiful church.”

The organ recital by Ted Bickish is Friday, May 16 at 7pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hot Springs.   Free will donations will be accepted at the recital. 


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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