On Oct. 30 our community will be treated to a world class concert at Peace Lutheran Church of Grass Valley. Celebrating the completion of their new organ installation, famous organist Hector Olivera will perform its debut.

Hector Olivera. Photo courtesy Walt Strony

When Walt Strony became organist at Peace in 2015, it was obvious that in order to continue having a first-rate music program, something needed to be done about their organ. Walt’s predecessor Paul Perry, who incidentally was co- founder of Music In the Mountains, had stated the need earlier – but wasn’t able to get the momentum going. Then, with Strony’s encouragement, in 2016 an organ committee was started and fundraising began for a new instrument that would be dedicated to the glory of God in honor of Paul Perry. With generous donations, numerous fundraising activities, concerts and the very popular silent movie events, the money was raised for a new organ, incorporating both pipes and digitally sampled sounds. Both the Allen Organ Company of Macungie, PA and the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, KS collaborated on the project, which took three years to complete. 

“I feel that the so-called combination organ, incorporating pipes and digitally sampled sounds, gives the best bang for the buck,” said Strony, still the church’s organist and the artistic advisor for Arts@Peace. “Besides the visual aspects, some of the most prominent voices come from the pipes and the rest are digital, allowing us to have an extremely comprehensive specification.”

That instrument, the first of its kind in the West – now complete with its new pipes – will be dedicated on Oct. 30 at 4pm at a concert featuring the internationally renowned organist Hector Olivera.

That instrument, the first of its kind in the West – now complete with its new pipes – will be dedicated on Oct. 30 at 4pm at a concert featuring the internationally renowned organist Hector Olivera.  This will be Mr. Olivera’s first performance in Nevada County. However, he has performed multiple times at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and on virtually every major instrument in the world including Notre Dame in Paris. He recently rededicated the organ at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, formerly known as the Crystal Cathedral.

Mr. Olivera was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a child prodigy, he performed for the legendary Eva Perón at age 5. At age 6, he entered the Buenos Aires Conservatory and continued amazing progress. In 1965, he was given a scholarship to the famous Juilliard School of Music.  From that point forward his fame grew to the point where he became regarded as one of the finest organists of the 20th Century (and now 21st!)

“I first heard Hector play in 1972, and his effect on audiences is legendary.  I’ve rarely seen anyone get so many spontaneous standing ovations! His interpretations touch people with the entire gamut of emotions from sadness to joy.” Strony said.

Mr. Olivera will play music by Bach, Franck, Albéniz and more. He will conclude by playing an improvisation on themes to be given to him at the concert – a rare talent few American organists possess.

This concert is an extraordinary opportunity for the community to experience truly wonderful music. Admission is free.  There will be a wine-cheese reception afterwards, which the entire audience is invited to attend. 

For more information go to www.PeaceLutheranGV.org or contact the Peace Lutheran Church Office at (530) 273-9631