Vintage 1925 Organ played by Peter Bates and Robert York Highlights The Christmas Carol

The 1920's organ in the Scottish Rite Cathedral's Ernest Borgnine Theatre gets put to use after recent renovation and tuning. The Christmas Carol will feature two different renowned organists during its 8 performance run in Long Beach, CA
By: Art-In-Relation
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Dec. 8, 2014 - PRLog -- The Christmas Carol is a magical re-telling that puts the fantastic qualities of Dickens’ classic story center stage with swirling, dancing carolers and spirits weaving in and out of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey through Christmas Eves of the past, present, and future.

The Chrismas Carol (Sung sample):

This production adapted by Art In Relation’s Co-Executive Director, Ray Buffer, also features Olde English Carols as well as an original title song, “The Christmas Carol” by Buffer, arranged by Robert Gross. Buffer also directs this production, now in its fourth year, having moved from Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro to the Ernest Borgnine Theatre in Long Beach.  Jonas Sills is music director and Calista Ruiz provides the dance choreography.

Accompanying and performing on the historical, grand and rare, Reuter Organ Co., Opus 156, 1925 house organ will be the esteemed Peter Bates and Robert York – each for four performances.

Robert York, began his career at the age of 14 as a church organist and concert artist in Portland, Oregon. After pursuing a formal education in music, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1986, expanding his interests and studies to include jazz, arranging and composition.  Having completed a Baccalaureate of Music in Piano Performance at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon, he returned to academic study much later, completing a Master of Music degree with a specialization in Organ Performance at California State University Long Beach, including research on the composer Maurice Duruflé which included interviews in Paris with Frédéric Blanc, curator of the Duruflé Apartment (and student of Mme. Duruflé) and Vincent Warnier, one of Duruflé's two successorsat St.Ètienne-du-Mont, Paris.

Currently, Mr. York is Accompanist and Vocal Coach at Los Angeles Harbor College, Organist for the historic Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles as one of the few organists versed in the art of theater organ performance and in improvising silent films. He created numerous virtual orchestral arrangements of existing and original compositions for the Wings of Healing International Radio Ministry with and audience of over 500 stations throughout the world. He is currently Music Director/Organist at First Congregational Church in Buena Park.

At the historic Orpheum Theater he has provided musical entertainment for events; Outfest (screening of the film Party Monster), Ovation Awards for live theatre in LosbAngeles, Last Remaining Seats, and screenings of the Disney film Chicken Little, and the Universal/Columbia film The Producers.

In Paris, France, Mr. York was accepted as a student of internationally renowned teacher and concert artist Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin, Organist titular of St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, Paris, and Organist co-titulaire of St.Sulpice, Paris, and Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music, London, England. He continues to study organ literature and improvisation with Madame Choplin. He made his European concert debut in 2009, in Szamatuły, Poland, and his Paris debut in 2010, continuing to perform more frequently in 2011 at both St. Jeanne Baptiste de la Salle and St. Sulpice, Paris. He has also performed on piano at private functions in Paris, and on organ at St. Sulpice, Nogent-le-Roi, St. Germain-des-Prés, Paris, and St.Pierre, Saint-Valery-Sur-Somme, France.  He recently presented a compositional commission to the city of Szamatouły, Poland, performed by the choir, organ, and orchestra in summer of 2013, with other in the cities of Poznań, Poland, Amiens and Paris, France.

Peter L. Bates joined the staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in June 1997 as Resident Organist and was appointed to the post of Minister of Music in February 1998.  His responsibilities there include managing a part time music staff of seven, conducting the Covenant Choir and playing the organ at over 100 services each year. He also oversees the maintenance of the church’s 15 musical instruments, including the famed 60 stop Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ located in the church’s sanctuary. This organ has been acclaimed as Long Beach’s finest and most refined pipe organ. From 1987 through April 1997 he held the position of Director of Music and Organist at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Long Beach.

He attended Sacramento State University and holds a Master's degree in Music, specializing in organ performance. His organ instructors include: G. Leland Ralph of Sacramento, the late Bill Thomson of Thousand Oaks and Lloyd Holzgraf of Los Angeles.  In 1979 he was the organist for the Los Angeles Aztecs Soccer Team, playing “pop” music and accompanying various soloists singing the National Anthem for all home games, which were played at the Rose Bowl.  Between 1984 and 1999 Mr. Bates played over two hundred Noonday Organ Recitals as well as countless weddings and funerals at the historic First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, which houses the famed Skinner/Schlicker organs, which is the largest church organ in the world. He has also been involved in various recording projects, including performing the background organ music for a Porsche television commercial.  A published composer, his musical compositions include both choral and solo organ literature. The Covenant Choir also released a CD of Christmas music in 2008 on which he accompanies and conducts the choir and soloists and performs solo organ literature.  Mr. Bates is a Past Dean of the Long Beach Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and continues to be quite active in that organization. He is also the President Elect of the National Association of Church Musicians (formerly the Choral Conductor’s Guild) and a member of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. Prior to joining the staff of Covenant, he was for many years an active member of the Commission on Liturgy and Music for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

This lovingly faithful and brilliantly told tale is, at turns, delightful, dazzling, scary, and laugh-out-loud-funny, while instilling a powerful message about hope, redemption, and the spirit of the holiday season.  Acclaimed Long Beach actor, Timothy Cable grandiloquently portrays the role of of Ebenezer Scrooge, accompanied by a large ensemble of children, young and young-at-heart actors, singers and dancers.

The Long Beach Press Telegram hailed The Christmas Carol as "well-seasoned and tuneful" and "an injection of the real Christmas spirit - from the spirits."

With four night time offering and four matinees (including one on Christmas Eve), performances are December 19th, 21st, 23rd, 26th at 8PM and 20th, 21st, 24th, 27th at 2PM.

Tickets are $25 for general seating, with discounted seats at $20 for seniors over 55, and $15 for children 12 & under.  Advance tickets may be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets at 1(800) 838-3006 or

Errol Simmons
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Tags:Organ, Pipe Organ, Christmas, Robert York, Peter Bates
Industry:Arts, Music
Location:Long Beach - California - United States
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