Not Just A Pipe Dream for Al Fedak

AlFedak_04-1024x7648:00 pm • Sunday, February 5th 2017
Radio Broadcast via WMHT-FM

If you happen to follow Hudson Sounds on twitter (@HudsonSounds), you’ve probably caught on that most Sunday’s you’ll see a “tweet” about what is going to be featured on the weekly Pipedreams® show that evening. Pipedreams® is American Public Media’s weekly program dedicated to the artistry of the pipe organ. Host Michael Barone’s celebration of the “king of instruments” is heard on radio stations nationwide, including WMHT 89.1/88.7 FM on Sunday evenings at 8:00 pm.

While I’m not completely in love with the organ, it is hard not to admit that it is a wildly fantastic instrument, and I give major kudos to those who have mastered the instrument. As the photos of the various organs in the Pipedreams® tweets are usually quite wonderful, it’s hard not to share. But really, the retweet is a reminder for those who love the organ that “their” program is coming up and what the program is going to highlight.

This Sunday’s Pipedreams®, however deserves more than a 140 character tweet as one of the works being performed is a work by one of “our own.” Capital Region favorite, Alfred V. Fedak, is not only the Minister of Music and Arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany—where he plays a recently-restored four-manual, 1929 E. M. Skinner pipe organ—and Organist/Choir Director of Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, but also a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. And, he is a widely-published and well-known composer of church music. Fedak has over 300 choral and organ works in print, and more than 100 of his hymn tunes appear in hymnals and collections throughout the US, Canada, England, Scotland, New Zealand, China and Japan. Recently he’s been called “one of the country’s leading church musicians” by The American Organist. So, ironically, pursing a vocation as well as a passion around the organ is something beyond a simple pipe dream for Al Fedak.

So let’s get back to this coming Sunday evening’s broadcast of Pipedreams® on American Public Radio (via WMHT-FM). It’s a live recording of a 2008 concert at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and features professor Huw Lewis and his students playing the recently restored 1929 four-manual E.M. Skinner organ in Dimnent Chapel. Lewis performs Fedak’s Sonata for Worship. No doubt, you’ll want to tune in!

And, remember … in the face of our turbulent time where public radio funding has once again been targeted to be on the chopping block, WMHT Public Media is holding its Radio for Roses campaign this weekend (click here for more info). If you enjoy having access to our local composers, performers, and presenters (think No Ticket Required and WMHT Live!), perhaps now is the time to pitch in.

Happy Musicking this weekend!

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