Roland's Atelier Organ Fest 2010 a Success
(ShackMan | Posted 2010-04-07)
So what do the names Hector Olivera, Rosemary Bailey, and Tony Fenelon meant to you? Probably not much. Maybe a little bit more than the average Joe if you're reading this article. So who are they? They're three of the top professional organists in the field today, and Hector Olivera is widely considered to be the artistic successor of the late Virgil Fox, perhaps the greatest to touch the instrument in the 20th century.
Roland, in a continuing mission to promote the study of the organ, has been holding events for the Atelier Organ fest since the Fall of last year. The Atlier Organ Fest is a contest in which players compete in four different categories (Professional, Advanced Hobbyist, Hobbyist, Youth 1 and Youth 2, in that order) for some fifteen minutes of fame and a trip to Los Angeles, where the finals were held. The contest had its beginnings in Roland dealers around the country, giving hobbyist players, students and professionals an opportunity to share their musical talents.
Finalists performed on Roland's flagship AT-900 Atelier Organ for a live audience. They were then critiqued by the aforementioned panel of expert judges--organ virtuoso Hector Olivera, concert artist Rosemary Bailey, and internationally acclaimed artist Tony Fenelon.
Winners included Don Reed from Springfield, Massachusetts, in the Hobbyist division; Richard Guild from Syracuse, New York, in the Advanced Hobbyist division; Brent Evangelista from Orange, California, in the Youth 1 division; Riley Dunn from Kansas City, Missouri, in the Youth 2 division; and Jason Comet from Watertown, New York, in the Professional division.
The finalists of the Roland Atelier Organ Fest enjoyed the opportunity to travel to different cities around the country, and were inspired by the versatility and quality of Roland Atelier Organs. "I really love jazz, so I thought I would give it a shot to see if I was up to it and the Atelier was certainly up to it," says Hobbyist champion Richard Guild. "The way it sounds, all the sounds that are in it, its playability, it's just an awesome instrument. The more you play it the more it inspires you."
The finals paid welcome to almost 400 attendees - more than Roland was expecting from a fanbase that has been on the wane for a good many years now. They will be holding another Atelier Organ Fest in the 2010-2011 season. For more information on becoming a participant or hosting a regional event in Roland Atelier Organ Fest 2010-11, you may contact Lynda Smith at 323-890-3773.
James "ShackMan" Rushin is a bassist, pianist, organist, and composer working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He is glad to see Roland showing a great instrument some of the love it deserves and wishes to congratulate all of the contest winners.