Hymn Festival at First, Galesburg

“We Sing the Year Round”

Sunday October 14, at 4pm

“We Sing the Year Round,” is a Hymn Festival written and led by organist, Dr. John Ferguson in celebration of the new organ which leads the congregational singing at First Lutheran Church in Galesburg, October 14 at 4pm.

John Ferguson retired June 2012 after serving 29 years as Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music and Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. His responsibilities included directing the church music-organ program, teaching organ and conducting the St. Olaf Cantorei. During his tenure at St. Olaf he oversaw three major capital projects: the renovation of space adjacent to the music building into an organ recital hall housing a new Dobson organ(3/42); the complete renovation, acoustical upgrade and installation of a new Holtkamp organ (3/89) for Boe Memorial Chapel; and a new suite of rooms housing the school’s seven practice organs. During his tenure the organ department at the college defied national trends by growing in enrollment and in quality.

In retirement he continues his travels to design and lead hymn festivals for which he is internationally known as well as composing and arranging, adding to the many publications already in print. Drawing upon his 59 years experience as a church musician, especially his work at the Kent, Ohio United Church of Christ (15 years while on the faculty of Kent State University) and Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota (5 years full time), he is at work on his fourth book exploring his philosophy of the vocation of the church musician.

2018 Allen Organ model G-340, 3 manual, 58 Stops

He has been honored by his colleagues in the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians both by the Raabe Prize for distinctive musical composition and the Faithful Servant Award for his years of service to church music. The Minnesota American Choral Directors Association presented him with the F. Melius Christiansen award for distinguished service to the choral art and his colleagues at St. Olaf elected him to the St. Olaf chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He has been named the American Guild of Organists Endowment Fund Distinguished Artist of the Year for 2018.

Ferguson’s son, Christopher, teaches British History at Auburn University where his daughter in law, Sarah, serves as business manager for the Auburn band program and they raise two of the delight’s of John’s life – his grand daughter, Lucy and grandson, Thomas. In his spare time he enjoys caring for and driving his collection of classic vehicles including five historic military vehicles and three classic muscle cars. Singers who would like to participate in the choir for this festival — let Bev Whiteside know. There is a rehearsal Saturday morning, Oct. 13 and an hour before the Hymn Festival. Community Members are welcome.