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Nantucket Bank Presents: The 30th Annual NCMC Organ Crawl

NCMC’s 30th Annual Organ Crawl, Nantucket’s Pipe Organs Play in Sun, Sand, and Sea, will premiere the evening of Friday, August 20th. Following the resounding success of last year’s YouTube and NCTV Channel 18’s broadcasts, the 2021 program promises to engage viewers with light, summer seasonal popular and classic music performed by five organists, on pipe organs located in five of Nantucket’s historic churches. PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION to help keep the music going on Nantucket.

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Featured Organists

Carson Cooman (b. 1982) is an American composer with a catalog of hundreds of works in many forms—from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His music has been performed on all six inhabited continents in venues that range from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the basket of a hot air balloon. Cooman’s music appears on over forty recordings, including more than twenty-five complete CDs on the Naxos, Albany, Artek, Gothic, Divine Art, Métier, Diversions, Convivium, Altarus, MSR Classics, Raven, and Zimbel labels. Cooman’s primary composition studies were with Bernard Rands, Judith Weir, Alan Fletcher, and James Willey. As an active concert organist, Cooman specializes in the performance of contemporary music. Over 300 new compositions by more than 100 international composers have been written for him, and his organ performances can be heard on a number of CD releases and more than 3,000 recordings available online (representing the work of more than 600 composers). Cooman is also a writer on musical subjects, producing articles and reviews frequently for a number of international publications. He serves as an active consultant on music business matters to composers and performing organizations, specializing particularly in the area of composer estates and archives. For more information, visit www.carsoncooman.com.

After a nation-wide search, the Nantucket Community Music Center (NCMC) selected East Carolina University organ student, Christopher J. Pharo, as its first Organ Performance Scholar. Pharo is a student of Andrew Scanlon, MM, FAGO, Teaching Assistant Professor, Sacred Music & Organ, ECU School of Music.

Pharo is a featured performer at NCMC’s 2021 Organ Crawl, “Nantucket’s Pipe Organs Play in Sun, Sand and Sea,” performing at the Unitarian Universalist Church on their 1831 William M. Goodrich mechanical-action pipe organ, the United States’ oldest American-built organ in regular use. He also performed at the First Congregational Church, on their 1904 J.W. Steer & Son organ.

ISAIAH WILLIAMS is pursuing his Bachelor of Music (BM) in organ performance in the studio of Nathan Laube. He teaches pipe organ and piano at NCMC. An eleventh generation native of Nantucket Massachusetts and graduate of Nantucket High School, Isaiah began studying piano at the age of seven with Dr. Tinka Knopf de Esteban, and began organ lessons at the age of eleven with Bernadette Nadeau. Since starting organ, Isaiah has played annually in the Nantucket Organ Crawl, and held the position of organist and music director at the Nantucket United Methodist Church for two years.

During the summer of 2019, he was the Hanner Intern Organist at Unitarian Universalist Church of Nantucket. Isaiah has also had opportunities to study  with Tom Bara and Robert Havery, and attended the 2016 Oberlin Summer Organ Academy and the 2017 Eastman Summer Academy for High School Organists. In his free time, Isaiah enjoys the history and nature of the northeast, and is deeply interested in languages and hand drawn animation.

JOE HAMMER, in many respects, has enjoyed a dual-track career over the course of his professional working life…that of a musician and a fund raiser. A native “Hoosier,” Joe entered Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana, as an organ major, graduating with a bachelor’s in communications and music. Upon completion of his master’s degree in public relations from Ball State, Joe worked in the not-for-profit sector in Indianapolis. He moved to New York City during the late ‘80s, working primarily in non-profit special event fundraising over the next 20-plus years. He and his family relocated from New York City to Indianapolis in 2008, where he continued his non-profit fundraising work with a museum and an educational foundation.  In 2015, he joined the development staff of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; he retired from full-time fundraising in 2016.

Throughout his fundraising career, Joe continued to play the organ and sing in a number of choirs, including The Riverside Church and Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal, New York City; the First Presbyterian Church, Sag Harbor, New York, as organist; and, Director of Music and Organist for the First Congregational Church (UCC), Exeter, New Hampshire. In Indianapolis, he served as Director of Music and Organist for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, and as interim music director and organist for St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church. Joe also served as organist for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Granville, Ohio. Joe is also the Director of Music and organist at St. Paul’s Church in Nantucket (Episcopal).

A resident of Nantucket since 2018, JEFFREY CUTTS wears many hats in the island music world. He first arrived on Nantucket to answer the call as the new Minister of Music at the First Congregational Church, where he serves as organist, choirmaster, and liturgist. Cutts has served on the voice, piano, and ukulele faculty at NCMC, where he currently serves as conductor of the NCMC community chorus. He is the artistic director and co-founder of the professional vocal jazz ensemble, Nantucket Blue. Cutts enjoys a diverse career as a gigging performer on Nantucket, whether playing for the annual Organ Crawl, presenting solo vocal recitals, playing in jazz combos, conducting and singing with choral groups, or even playing some self-accompanied Elton John tunes. On the island, he is also the upper school music teacher at the Nantucket New School and has served as music director for several productions of the Dreamland Stage Company, including Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, The Lion King, Frozen, and this summer’s production of 13: The Musical. Cutts holds a Master of Music in sacred music and conducting from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where he studied liturgy with Steve Pilkington and conducting with Joe Miller, James Jordan, and Ryan Brandau. He also has a Bachelor in Music in voice performance and musical arts from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, where he studied voice with Amy Jarman and Gayle Shay; conducting with Robin Fountain; and organ, composing, and historical performance with Carl Smith.

Presenting Sponsor:

Nantucket Bank

Performance sponsor:

  • Margot T. Young

Organ Scholar Performer Sponsor:

  • Deborah Beale

The NCMC is keeping a close eye on the issue of COVID-19.