Organist Christa Rakich to perform next in the Joan Stockstill Godsey concert series

Christa Rakich to play the world premiere of Fantasia on Salve Regina at the Joan Stockstill Godsey Concert Series on February 26.

Photo courtesy of Jack Mitchener

Christa Rakich to play the world premiere of Fantasia on Salve Regina at the Joan Stockstill Godsey Concert Series on February 26.

Elliot James, Staff Writer

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Renowned organist Christa Rakich will perform the world premiere of Margaretha Christina de Jong’s “Fantasia on Salve Regina” (2016) as part of Mercer University’s Joan Stockstill Godsey Concert Series, beginning Feb. 26. The concert will be held at Christ Episcopal Church in Macon at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“[Rakich] makes the organ fun,” said Jack Mitchener, director of Mercer’s Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music and associate professor of organ. With an expansive studio pipe organ from Paris in her background, Mitchener described Rakich as a buoyant personality with a colorful way of playing the organ.

She makes the organ fun.”

— Jack Mitchener, associate professor of organ

Rakich, a concert and recording artist, is an artist-in-residence at the First Congregational Church in Somers, Connecticut. She directs the music program at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in West Hartford, Connecticut and has taught at the New England Conservatory, Westminster Choir College, Brandeis University and the University of Connecticut.

Rakich has previously served as the artist-in-residence at the University of Pennsylvania and First Lutheran Church in Boston. She has further served as assistant university organist at Harvard University.

“Fantasia on Salve Regina” uses a Latin hymn based on a Gregorian chant. Mitchener said that Rakich has described the piece as “Neo-Romantic.”

The concert will feature organ music written by a variety of different composers from diverse countries and eras. Both female and male composers will be featured, including contemporary composers who have written in the romantic style.

In addition to the de Jong piece, Rakich will perform a selection from J.S. Bach’s famous “Goldberg Variations” — which were originally written for harpsichord — and a collection of other pieces from her eclectic repertoire.

“We do this first and foremost for the students,” Mitchener said, explaining his excitement for the concert. Rakich is a colleague of Mitchener’s through the organ profession, and he said that he is looking forward to having her play for the Godsey concert series.

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