Archives for News

Ray Cornils Reflects on Christmas with Cornils Past

Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine Ray Cornils Reflects on Christmas with Cornils Past Ray Cornils’ final performance as Portland’s Municipal Organist will be the Kotzschmar Christmas with Cornils concert on Tuesday, December 19 at Merrill Auditorium. This annual concert, which Mr. Cornils has presented for the past 28 years, occupies a special place in his heart. “There is Christmas music literature which dates back more than 1,000 years,” explained Mr. Cornils. “The material is vast and covers an array of styles, nationalities, and genres – it is one of my favorite programs to present to the
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Hymnal Festival and the Joy of Communal Singing

Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine Hymnal Festival and the Joy of Communal Singing Few instruments are as impressive in their dexterity and sonic variety as the human voice. When many voices come together in song, it can be an exhilarating experience for both singers and listeners. The joining of many voices into one is a musical highlight for Ray Cornils. He explains, “There is nothing more uniting than human beings joining in collective singing. It is a phenomenon that has been observed throughout the centuries in which individual differences are put aside as people unite in
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The Magic of Christmas Camel

Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine The Legend of Ray Cornils and The Magic of Christmas Camel Each December, Christmas music fans flock to Magic of Christmas, the annual holiday offering presented by the Portland Symphony Orchestra. While expecting to hear a fantastic night of holiday music, concertgoers hope to see a certain one-humped, four-legged animal grace the stage…the Magic of Christmas camel. The camel is legendary among the musicians in the PSO and fans of Magic of Christmas. For those who aren’t familiar with the Christmas camel at Merrill Auditorium, every Magic of Christmas season a
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Sabbatical Study with Dame Gillian Weir

Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine Sabbatical Study with Dame Gillian Weir Dame Gillian Constance Weir is heralded as one of the most exceptional organists in the world. She has performed in countless international tours, is given credit for popularizing the music of Messiaen, and has been awarded numerous honors throughout her distinguished career. Between 1980 and 1990, Ray Cornils – Portland’s longest-running Municipal Organist – had attended several master classes taught by Ms. Weir. He marveled each time as she was able to transform her student’s playing and hoped to one day study with her. In
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Ray Cornils and the Portland Symphony Orchestra

Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine Ray Cornils and the Portland Symphony Orchestra Outside of its sacred origins, the pipe organ has come to serve many functions for secular music. One in particular was born out of economics. Before audio recordings existed, the only way one could hear the great Classical and Romantic orchestral works was to attend a concert – a not-so-cheap concert. To offer a more affordable option in early 20th century America, municipalities placed organs in public auditoriums, instruments which incorporated pipes that would emulate the sounds of orchestral instruments. This gave venues the
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Ray Cornils and the American Guild of Organists

Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine Ray Cornils and the American Guild of Organists’ 2014 National Convention Since 1896, the American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been promoting awareness and appreciation for organ and choral music and has fostered a thriving community of organists and choral singers throughout the U.S. The AGO National Convention, occurring every two years, is the centerpiece of the organization’s work, which requires four years of planning by a team of dedicated AGO members. As part of his commitment to his craft, Ray Cornils has been an active member of the AGO since
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Introducing Portland’s 11th Municipal Organist

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: 19 September 2017   The Tradition Lives On: James Kennerley – Portland’s 11th Municipal Organist   Portland, ME — Municipal Organist is a phrase that symbolizes a strong relationship between government and the arts – a relationship that is becoming more scarce each year. It’s a title so rare, only two cities in the U.S. have such a position: San Diego, California and our own Portland, Maine. This year, the City of Portland renews its commitment to continuing the legacy of the Municipal Organist with the appointment of James Kennerley. Mr. Kennerley will be the City’s
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