Monthly Archives December 2014

Kotzschmar Organ Committee — Winter 2014

It started early in 2007, when we were first advised of the Kotzschmar Organ’s critical condition, and it climaxed in the last weekend of September, 2014. More than seven years of study and conversations, commitment and fundraising. Portland’s beloved Kotzschmar Organ left Maine for the first time since 1917 for two years of intense renovation. The staff of Foley-Baker, Inc. of Tolland, Connecticut ran an elegant “organ spa,” tending to every widget and spring in our mighty organ. When I first heard the organ after its return, I was struck by what a difference this project has made. A hundred
Read More

From the Executive Director — Winter 2014

Yes, we are back! The Grand Opening Concert of the Return of the Kotzschmar has passed but each concert or event since then has shown the brilliance of the organ’s renovated state. Every time I hear it I experience something new and different. Now, we are looking forward to celebrating Ray’s 25th Christmas with Cornils, which marks the beginning of his twenty-fifth year as Portland’s municipal organist. I hope you’ll join us on December 23rd and throughout the year to honor and congratulate Ray for his exceptional service in this capacity. Because of the role he has played over the
Read More

From the President — Winter 2014

WOW!! It was Saturday Evening, September 27th and the Hermann Kotzschmar Memorial Organ was about to be played for the first time in two years after a complete renovation. There was a totally sold out Merrill Auditorium (For an Organ concert!!). The Board of the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ showed up in tuxedos. There was electric excitement in the air for all of us. I remembered two years ago when I was sitting next to Peter Plumb, a founder of FOKO, and Kathy Grammer, FOKO’s Executive Director, at the closing concert of the Kotzschmar Centennial. The workers of Foley
Read More

After 25 Years, Christmas with Cornils Continues to Evoke the Holiday Spirit

Ray Cornils became Portland’s tenth municipal organist in 1990—following Gerald McGee and Earl Miller—after an extensive search and audition process. He had moved to Woolwich, Maine in 1987, and had experience playing the Kotzschmar in FOKO’s summer series. When he assumed the role of municipal organist, there was a dizzying array of performance possibilities. And when Russ Burleigh was appointed FOKO’s first Executive Director in 1990, the two quickly became a solid team, developing programs that would increase attendance, awareness, and the income that the Kotzschmar Organ needed dearly. One of the many popular programs developed under their watch was
Read More