James Welch Organist

Instrument of Wonder
Music to Light Up Your Christmas

Christmas has always held a great fascination for James Welch. From the time he was a small child, he has collected Christmas lights. (The cover design for this album was originally used in 1939 on a box of Noma Christmas lights that is now in his personal collection.) James Welch has also enjoyed collecting Christmas music, and this recording represents thirty of the most delightful carol arrangements in his library -- some old favorites and quite a few new ones -- ranging from bright and lively pieces to gentle settings of traditional Yuletide melodies from around the world.

Musical Selections
by today's leading American composers of music for organ

Dale Wood: Angels We Have Heard on High
Paul Manz: What is this Lovely Fragrance
Dale Wood: O Come, Little Children
Paul Manz: Still, Still, Still
John Leavitt: Cold December Flies Away
Dale Wood: Il est Ne, le Divin Enfant
Paul Manz: In Dulci Jubilo
Mary Finlayson: All Will Be Right
Richard Elsasser: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Franklin Eddings: Silent Night
Dale Wood: Noel Nouvelet
Pietro Yon: Gesu Bambino
Dale Wood: People, Look East
Robert Wetzler (arr. Dale Wood): Winds Through the Olive Trees
J Wayne Kerr: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Dale Wood: Forest Green
Wilbur Held: Go, Tell It On the Mountain
Keith Chapman: Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine
Dale Wood: I Saw Three Ships
Paul Manz: How Far is it to Bethlehem?
J S Bach: Rejoice, Ye Christians
Dale Wood: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
Adolphe Adam: O Holy Night
Dale Wood: Carol of the Manger
Paul Manz: We Three Kings
Dale Wood: Silent Night, Holy Night
Dale Wood: In Dulci Jubilo
Gordon Young: Cradle Hymn
Dale Wood: Cold December Flies Away
Michael Burkhardt: Angels from the Realms of Glory

James Welch is grateful to California composer and dear friend Mary Finlayson, whose tender song, All Will Be Right, was an inspiration for the creation of this album.

All on a starry night so long ago
Shepherds on a hillside felt their hearts aglow,
For in the heavens radiant with light,
Angels were singing that all will be right.

In a far country wise men saw a star
Shining in the east to show them where you are.
Dear little Savior, cradled in the hay,
God sent his Son to be born this day.

Mary wonders at your birth,
Born to save all children of the earth.

O, dear baby, you will be our star.
We will be the children who follow where you are;
Then we will know how with love so bright,
God sent a Savior and all will be right.

The Recording Site

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church is located on Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. This beautiful and acoustically resonant church houses the Schoenstein organ heard in this recording. The organ was originally installed in the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Oakland in 1982. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the cathedral beyond repair, and the organ was subsequently moved to its present home in 1996. Sincere thanks go to Fr. Seamus D. Genovese, Pastor, for his cooperation in making this recording possible.

About the Instrument

The organ of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Oakland, California, was built by Schoenstein & Co. in 1982. Schoenstein is the largest and oldest pipe organ firm in the Western United States, and one of the oldest in North America. The company was founded in the Black Forest of Germany in the mid-nineteenth century and was established in San Francisco in 1877. Their instruments are found in churches and concert halls throughout the country. This instrument containts two manuals, 24 voices, 29 ranks, and has electric-pneumatic action.

Principal 8'
Gedeckt 8'
Gemshorn 8'
Celeste 8'
Octave 4'
Koppelflote 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture IV
Festival Trumpet 8'

Viola Pomposa 8'
Viola Celeste 8'
Chimney Flute 8'
Prestant 4'
Pommer 4'
Nazard 2-2/3'
Flageolet 2'
Cymbale III
Bassoon 16'
Trumpet 8'
Oboe 8'
Clarion 4'
Resultant 32'
Diapason 16'
Bourdon 16'
Gemshorn 16'
Octave 8'
Flute 8'
Choralbass 4'
Posaune 16'
Bassoon (Sw) 4'

What people are saying about Instrument of Wonder

"Really magical... a delight from beginning to end. A thoroughly enjoyable package, sure to make friends for the pipe organ. Nice, graceful, spirited, nuanced and insightful playing... and the instrument is a perfect match for this repertoire." --Michael Barone, producer and announcer for Pipedreams, American Public Radio

"Your Christmas CD is a winner through and through, and at least 10 tracks left me slightly stunned and profoundly affected. Congratulations on a significant achievement." --Russell Hancock, organist and pianist, Palo Alto, California

"Not just another Christmas album with the usual reworkings of carols and songs. The program has immediate appeal to everyone, not just organ aficionados." --Franklin Eddings, composer and organist, Bountiful, Utah

"Your Christmas album is, in a word, magnificent. I seriously doubt that I will ever hear performances of any of my works that will come close to the perfection you have given them." --Dale Wood, composer and arranger, The Sea Ranch, California