Organ Scholarship Committee Presents Sixth Choral and Hymn Festival

Posted on 9/16/2016 9:03:36 AM

The Carol Teti Memorial Organ Scholarship Committee is will present its sixth Choral and Hymn Festival at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 7th and Church streets, in Indiana, Pennsylvania, with pre-concert music beginning at 2:40 p.m. Admission and reception are free, with donations for the scholarship fund gratefully accepted.

The performance will feature nearly 70 members from the church choirs of Indiana under the direction of Ryan Beeken, director of Choral Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Returning to Indiana to perform as organ accompanist for the Festival Choir is IUP alumnus and previous organ scholarship recipient Maximillian Esmus (BA, 2012). Also participating in the festival are members of the IUP Faculty Woodwind Quintet; IUP music faculty members Kevin Eisensmith on trumpet and Christine Clewell on organ; and special guest Tom McLaughlin on the bagpipes.

Ryan BeekenAs director of Choral Studies at IUP, Beeken conducts the University Chorale, Chorus, and Chamber Singers and teaches graduate and undergraduate choral conducting. He also serves as artistic director for the Blair Concert Chorale, whose mission includes fostering a growing appreciation of quality choral music for the population of south central Pennsylvania. He received Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Drake University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University.

Beeken’s choirs have performed at state, regional, and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and have been invited to perform for state and regional conferences for the National Association for Music Education. A frequent clinician and festival director, Beeken is regularly engaged as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States; since 2013, his engagements include more than 30 All-States and Honor choirs in 12 states and many invited presentations for symposia across the United States and in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has served on the executive committee of the American Choral Directors Association at both the state and regional level and is currently serving as the District 3 president-elect for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

Maximillian Esmus, OrganistEsmus is the director of Music at Grace Episcopal Church in Haddonfield, New Jersey, where he conducts adult and youth choirs and accompanies services on the organ and piano. He is also the artistic director of the Haddonfield Center and School for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization that presents an eclectic concert series and educational programming in the arts. He teaches piano students of all ages at his position on the piano faculty of Rowan Prep, the community music school of Rowan University.

Esmus completed his master’s degree in choral conducting at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, where he was assistant conductor of the Statesmen Men’s Chorus and the WOCHO Women’s Chorus. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and composition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded first prize in the school’s Chopin Piano Competition and graduated summa cum laude. As a collaborative pianist and organist, Esmus regularly accompanies student recitals, school choirs, and local musical theater productions. He currently resides in Stratford, New Jersey.

Over the years, the Choral and Hymn Festival concert has proven to be one of the most popular events presented by the Teti Committee. It celebrates and promotes the critical role that organ music plays in the life of our respective churches, bringing together the community and inspiring all those in attendance as a chorus of organ, brass, and voice envelops them.

Sunday’s program includes music by Dan Locklair, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Johannes Brahms, Daniel Moe, Johann Sebastian Bach, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Mack Wilberg. Audience members will also have the opportunity to join the choir in singing several well-known hymns.

Since 1993, scholarship funds have been used to support work of the Teti Committee. To date the committee has awarded $68,000 to over 50 students.

For additional information, please contact Christine Clewell at 724-463-8046, or, or Charles Cashdollar at 724-463-3458, or