Musician to perform on storied pipe organ at Mahtomedi Church

18 July 2023

Organist Andrew Johnson will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 28, at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

Johnson will be performing pieces from Mendelssohn, one arranged by himself and will end the concert with the final from Symphonie V. Op. 47 by Louis Vierne who played the inaugural performance on the organ in 1927. The perfomance is free.

Johnson is from Bloomington, Ind., and will be pursuing a Doctorate of Organ Performance and Literature at the University of Rochester in the fall. He has worked as an organist in various churches and plans on teaching later in his career.

St. Andrew’s has the largest playable organ in the state, a Casavant-Schantz with more than 7,000 pipes.

The organ has been in St. Andrews since 2001. It was built in 1927 and installed at George Washington University until it was moved to a barn in Michigan in 1979.

When the church moved to a new location it hadn’t built a sanctuary yet. Church Organist and Music Coordinator Bill Chouinard tried to find the perfect organ for the new space, one that had a history. Then he heard about the Casavant-Schantz in Michigan.

A member of the congregation bought the organ for the church. The church spent $1.25 million to have it repaired and reconstructed.

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