Dr. Wayne Carroll chooses to play a piece commissioned by Thamesville native Tate Pumfrey

·3 min read

Dr. Wayne Carroll played a double tribute for his recital during the week-long 100th celebration of St. Andrew’s Church’s Casavant pipe organ.

Dr. Carroll chose ‘Spera In Dao,’ composed by a young local phenom, to play last Thursday as a part of St. Andrew’s daily noontime recitals held in the centuries celebration of the church’s organ.

Tate Pumfrey, a 26-year-old Thamesville native, composed the piece based on Psalm 42, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks.”

“I commissioned this piece in honour of the 100th anniversary of this organ, so I thought it was fitting to have a composition written in 2023,” Dr. Carroll said of his selection.

Dr. Carroll, a renowned music teacher for over 55 years, first met Pumfrey six years ago when he was one of his students in London.

He brought Pumfrey and another student to the Montreal Royal Canadian College of Organists convention.

“Tate became extremely interested in the pipe organ,” Dr. Carroll said. “He started studying and playing the instrument and quickly moved into composition.”

“He has produced a sizable number of compositions that have been recognized by some of the top organists in Canada,” stated Dr. Carroll.

Pumfrey completed a Bachelor of Arts at Western University and recently completed a Master of Composition at York University under the supervision of composer Stephanie Martin. Pumfrey, who resides in Saskatoon, has a strong interest in Catholic sacred music and has published two Catholic hymnals.

His works are now being published by the Wayne Leupold Editions publishing company in the United States.

“This is a great step for someone who is only 26 years old,” said Dr. Carroll, adding the meteoric rise of Pumphrey’s career is extremely rare.

“Especially to compose pieces with the depth that he does, this is quite profound,” he said.

Dr. Carroll, born in London and now resides near Belmont, was 15 when he accepted his first position as an organist.

He spent 44 years as Director of Music and organist at Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Thomas and was also Director of Music at Alma College from 1976-86.

Since retiring from his teaching career, Dr. Carroll has become an active recitalist and chamber musician, performing works for pipe organ and orchestral instruments.

Dr. Caroll noted that he had conducted 18 recitals between Michigan and Toronto since November.

“In today’s society, people like to have more than one just instrument played in a concert,” said Dr. Carroll. “I usually invite another person, a trumpeter or a singer, to add some variety to the concert to show what the pipe organ can do in conjunction with other instruments,” he said, as he was accompanied by a harpist in last Thursday’s recital.

Dr. Carroll performed in Ridgetown last spring at Mount Zion Presbyterian as a part of St. George’s Day on the Ridge, a one-day pipe organ crawl on April 23, 2022 that included Church of the Advent and Church of the Redeemer in Highgate.

Dr. Carroll’s performance on Thursday was the fourth in the five-day noontime organ recitals.

St. Andrew’s organist Devon Hansen performed on Monday and Friday, while an RCCO organists’ recital took place on Tuesday, and William Lighart performed Wednesday.

The week-long celebration started with a pair of workshops – Pedals, Pipes and Pizza for students on Saturday, April 15, and Organ Explorations for adults on Sunday, April 16.

The highlight of the week-long celebration was a St. Andrew’s Pedals and Pipes concert this past Saturday, performed by Dr. Norah Duncan IV, a professor and chair of the Department of Music at Wayne State University.

St. Andrew’s current organ was installed in 1923, the fourth in the church’s 190-year history. The organ was built by Casavant–Freres in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. Some of the 2,500 pipes included are originally from the 1902 Karn organ.

Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News