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BJU re-introduces advent organ recital tradition

Every several years, advent organ recitals have taken place at BJU. This year, Stephen Schaub, associate professor of computer science and Ed Dunbar, a faculty member in the music department, will delight the audience with a selection of organ music. One recital took place in War Memorial Chapel on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 12:10 p.m. and the other will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 12:10 p.m.

In accordance with the advent recital tradition, each program lasts 30 minutes. These advent organ recitals commemorate the 30th anniversary of the installation of the organ in the War Memorial Chapel. Dunbar, who will be performing on Dec. 12, is the former chair of the Division of Music. He began serving in that position in 1981.

Because this recital will be Dunbar’s last before he retires, he decided to pick a selection of some of his favorite organ pieces. Dunbar will open and close the recital with two fast-paced, improvisatory pieces. Dunbar said he will open his recital with a piece titled “Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella” by organist and composer Keith Chapman. Dunbar will close with another piece called “Improvisation on ‘In Dolce Jubilo’” by Sigfrid Karg-Elert. “They’re fun pieces,” Dunbar said. “They’re some of my favorites.”

He also said that his wife, Pam Dunbar, a faculty member in the music department, will sing a piece by Joan Pinkston with text by Dr. Karen Wilson. Both Pinkston and Wilson taught in the music department for almost 50 years. Dunbar said advent recitals are popular in many cities and universities throughout the United States.

During the advent season, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, many churches celebrate advent by focusing on Bible passages that highlight the incarnation of the Messiah. Although the recitals will take place during the Christmas season, the music will not be limited to Christmas music. “They’re not all Christmas pieces,” Dunbar said. “One in my program is standard repertoire.” Dunbar’s repertoire, a term that refers to song selections for a performance, will include Bach preludes with text from the advent season as well as opening and closing pieces based on Christmas carols.

Dunbar said his repertoire is similar to Schaub’s recital in that it will also include standard pieces and several Christmas carol preludes. Dunbar encouraged students to come out and attend the recitals. “It’ll be a great way to spend a few minutes in a busy week,” Dunbar said.