St. Peter Cathedral hosting famous organist as part of cathedral series

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A celebrity is coming to St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette to perform Wednesday night.

Simon Johnson is the organist at St. Paul's Cathedral in London and has played for many famous people including Baroness Thatcher and the Queen of England. He fell in love with the organ at a very young age, enjoying the loud sound as a young choruster, but now appreciates the softer sound of the organ as well

He's coming to the St. Peter Cathedral Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. as the celebrity recital portion of the Cathedral Concert Series.

"Well I tend to go where I'm asked to go, in many ways. I have a connection with the organist here. He heard me play a concert in Minnesota about four years ago, and I think he's always been keen to bring me here and I'm glad we've been able to make the schedule work," Simon Johnson says.

Simon will play for about 75 minutes, divided into two parts. The first portion will feature compositions by Bach and some modern pieces similar to Bach, as well as some French music. The second half will be all English music by composers such as Elgar, Stanford and Brewer.

"Well I love playing the organ and I love making music, it's as simple as that. I suppose any musician, any performing musician at least, is going to want to perform. I relish any opportunity to get out there in front of the public and to play the pieces that I love, and I hope that I can communicate my love of those pieces to the audience," Johnson explains.

Simon will be in the U.S. for two weeks for six concerts. After Marquette, he will be going to Chicago, Ill., Alexandria, Louis., New York, Bethlehem, Penn., and Topeka, Kan.

"Every single instrument that you come to is completely different, so each organ is a voyage of discovery in many ways. The basics or parameters - the keys are all in the same place - but often you find the height of the keys is different, certainly the sounds and the positions of the stops, and the way you manipulate those stops using buttons and so on is always different every single organ you come to, so it's getting the geography of your console is really important. It's a bit like flying an airplane in many ways," Simon Johnson describes.

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