Luxury Bus Tour--2002
35bar-ChurchTitle.gif (1357 bytes)

Over the past six years, Allen Organ Studios, Inc. has sponsored five luxury bus trips to the Allen Organ Company in Macungie (ma-KUNN-jee), PA, where Tom Hazleton has been our host and the featured performer. Each time Tom has played an exciting and colorful program on both classical and theatre organs.

Before arriving at the Allen Organ International Headquarters, we stopped at the delightful restaurant in the nearby Holiday Inn for their wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet. The buffet includes seven hot entrees, a soup and salad bar, plus a dessert bar with pastries and the ability to make your own ice cream sundaes. One person said at lunch, before seeing even one organ, "What a wonderful trip this is!"  

When we arrived at the International Headquarters, our host Tom Hazleton greeted us warmly and invited us into the large eight-sided concert room, aptly named Octave Hall.

Tom opened the program by playing three colorful pieces on the classical four-manual 79-stop Renaissance organ, followed by a Richard Rodgers medley from "Carousel" on the four-manual George Wright theatre organ.


The fifth luxury bus trip in five years brought the largest group yet--68 people who traveled on two luxury buses. Tom Hazleton welcomes the group, as he stands between  the IV manual79-stop classical organ on the right and the 4-manual George Wright theatre organ on the left.


Tom Hazleton marvels, as Steven Frank performs the "Concert Etude" pedal solo by Middelschulte, made famous by Virgil Fox and rarely performed today. Steven Frank's exciting interpretation of this tour de force has been recorded on the CD "Autumn Fires" and can also be heard on the amateur CD made of this concert at Octave Hall.


John Hong  performed his fiendish arrangement of the Sousa "Stars and Stripes Forever," which features a section in which his feet play what is normally in the orchestral arrangement  played by the piccolo. John also performed his colorful improvisation on "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Both performances are available on the Amateur CD of this concert.


After hearing the Rev. Peter Eunsung Hong play the piano with his son John on the organ in the powerful duet "Finlandia" by Linda McKechnie, Tom Hazleton said to Pastor Hong, "Never having heard you play, I didn't realize you were Rubinstein at the piano!" As a result, Tom changed the ending of the program and asked Pastor Hong to accompany him on a glorious improvised hymn arrangement  through different keys, as they lead the beautiful singing in an inspiring rendition of the hymn "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah." Said one person, "It was the best part of a great concert!"


35bar.gif (777 bytes)

During the "open console," Tom Hazleton assisted Ms. Joy Sommersett with her registration of the organ as she played Dale Wood's lovely "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and Bishop James Roberts, pastor of St. Thomas Liberal Catholic Church, New York City, gave her a standing ovation. Clifford John, organist of Union Congregational Church, New York City, followed with his stirring rendition of the hymn "All Creatures of Our God and King, " which incorporates the Fanfare on the Old 124th and an improvisation. Everyl Gibson, alumna of Juilliard School of Music, entertained the crowd with her upbeat performance of the Mendelssohn "Wedding March," which she explained was created when a bride told her the original version was too square.

At the intermission, people were able to make purchases, including CDs, books, videotapes of the performers, plus exciting organ music. New fans were made for the organ, as people realized how exciting music can be when played by superb musicians on state-of-the-art instruments.

The sound of a 21st Century Allen digital organ is like the finest large pipe organs and the finest large orchestras. When people hear this music, they are touched deeply. There were tears in many eyes.

CDs of the performers were made available during an intermission at the concert. Also available was the entertaining and highly informative, definitive biography of Virgil Fox. Steven Frank, the president of  the Virgil Fox Society, is one of the contributors to this book. Pastor Hong's daughter JiEun Hong and her family friend and Allen team member from Philadelphia Ms. Somi Woo took responsibility for the table and were delightful in the way they greeted the bilingual audience.

A 65-minute amateur CD
of this concert in Octave
Hall, is available.

35bar.gif (777 bytes)
Comments Received After The July 2002 Event!

35bar.gif (777 bytes)

Up ] Avery Fisher ] AOS Open House ] Holiday Music in the Atrium ] Avignon Film Festival ] Bus Trip-2001 ] [ Bus Trip-2002 ] An Afternoon of Fun with Allen Organs ] St. Vincent de Paul Concert ] John Hong In Concert ] Love of Christ Presbyterian Church Dedication ] New York Philharmonic ] Rainbow Room ] Riverside Church ] Thomas Hazleton Concert ] Dedication Concert ] Cathedral of St. John the Divine ]