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Low Bass and Organ Recital

By Sandy Lugo
On September 13, 2012

Dr. Eileen Meyer Russell and Dr. Don McManus hosted the recital where they played low bass and organ as guest artists of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall. Since musical concerts are not very popular on campus, this combination of instruments attracted a new audience.

In the 18th century, the combination of keyboard and trombone was not popular, but in the 19th century some composers wrote for this type of combinations. Two wind instruments being played as partners, such as the organ and trombone, are rarely found because they produce similar sounds. The organ is an instrument that in recent years is played just by the use of hands, but this organ in particular is played using both the musician's hands and feet. On the bottom of the organ, there are keys as big as a foot to touch and deliver a sound. Its walls contain several keys to various sounds that can start to play or stop the sound as soon as you push a button. The regular top keys, those made for the hands, contain about four rows, all portraying different sound styles. This instrument was played by McManus. Trombone and trumpet were played by Russell.

The musicians feature various melodies such as Psalm XIX, Sonata in A Minor, Be thou But Near,
Morceau Symphonique Op. 88, Intermezzo fur Posaune in Orgel Op. 53, Schall und Hall, Solemn Adagio, Allegretto tranquillo, and Solemnities for Trombone and Organ. Near the end, they played with a one light visual effect to their notes, making it seem romantic and scary.

Russell is an Associate Professor of music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. On the other hand, Russell teaches Music Theory, Applied Music Lessons, and Solfege courses at this same University. She is also a part of the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra, being the principal trombonist. In addition, McManus is an organist and music director at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown, TX. He also served as an organist and choirmaster of ST. Cyprian's Episcopal Church in Lufkin, TX for 25 years, and as an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Stephen F. Austin State University in Austin, TX.

These events are presented mainly for students. This may contribute to their music education or their knowledge on many instruments whether or not you are a music major. Texas A&M International University and the FPA usually bring artists from out of town to gain more insight on this matter.

For more information, you may contact the Fine and Performing Arts Department at (956) 326-ARTS

(Sandy Lugo may be reached at

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