Holiday Spectacular

Music Club's Christmas concert features Fox Theatre's organist

By Susan Pierce Article posted on Thu. Nov. 29th, 2012
  • photo
    Larry-Douglas Embury of Atlanta, organist-in-residence at the Fox Theatre, will be the featured artist Friday night at the Chattanooga Music Club’s “Holiday Spectacular.” Embury was in Chattanooga on Monday to rehearse on Memorial Auditorium’s restored 1924 Austin pipe organ.
    Photo by Alyson Wright.

If You Go

* What: Chattanooga Music Club's "Holiday Spectacular."

* When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

* Where: Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

* Admission: Free, but donations accepted for upkeep of Austin pipe organ.

* Phone: 642-TIXS.

Every December, Larry-Douglas Embury, house organist for the Fox Theatre, presents a Christmas concert on the Atlanta venue's majestic Moller organ, nicknamed "Mighty Mo."

"I'm infatuated with the Three Stooges," said the organist, "so I call my program 'Christmas at the Fox Starring Larry, Carols and Mo.' "

That humor, combined with his nationally recognized talent, promises to make Embury's appearance at "Holiday Spectacular," on Friday, Nov. 30, an unforgettable event.

Chattanooga Music Club member Evelyn Gibbs said that although the club has presented Thanksgiving hymn fests for several years, there were many requests for a Christmas concert. Rather than two small events, the club is sponsoring one large extravaganza with multiple artists.

Embury is the featured artist for the holiday concert, which will include the Metropolitan Bells handbell choir, the Brassworks ensemble from Jericho Brass and soloist Daniel Mata of Atlanta. Even the audience will get in on the act with several sing-alongs included in the program.

Embury said Mata is one of a set of 16-year-old triplets, originally from Venezuela, who are training in the Fox Theatre's Rising Stars program.

"Daniel has a fantastic voice -- he sounds better than Pavarotti," said Embury. "He'll be singing 'O Holy Night' and 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.' "

Embury said he has selected pieces to showcase the broad capabilities of the auditorium's Austin pipe organ, which has been restored by the Music Club.

"From an organist's standpoint, I play what I call the best concert pipe organ in the world at the Fox," he said.

But the restored Austin is "magnificent," he said, adding that it's "an easy instrument to play" and "kind to the ears.

"It has the range you need," he said, "but also has the softness."

To connect with the audience, Embury will talk about his selections between numbers.

"I'm doing 'Sleigh Ride,' 'Little Drummer Boy' and a wild and exciting toccata on 'Good King Wenceslas.' It will have the audience up on their feet," he predicted.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

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