This summer’s Broad Bay Congregational United Church of Christ concert will feature Kevin Birch on the restored 1875 Hook & Hastings organ, accompanied by Anatole Wieck on violin, performing music that will range from Beethoven to Joplin. The concert is set for Friday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the church, 941 Main St./Route 220.

Birch, director of music at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor and on the music faculty at the University of Maine’s School of the Performing Arts, is returning for his fourth concert at Broad Bay. An active proponent of organ restoration, he also directs the St. John’s Organ Society, which is dedicated to preservation and stewardship of that church’s Hook Opus 288 organ.

Wieck teaches violin and viola and conducts the University of Maine Chamber Orchestra.  Since 1999, he has been conductor-in-residence at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colo.

In addition to the Beethoven and Joplin works, the two musicians will play selections by Copland, De Lange, Leclair and Mendelssohn. Also among the works on the evening’s program are two selections composed for organ and violin by Josef Rheinberger.

“He was active as a composer and organist when the Broad Bay Hook was new. Rheinberger’s ‘Pastorale’ and Elegy’ are high points in 19th-century repertoire for the two instruments,” Birch said.

Birched added it is always interesting to combine organ, essentially a wind instrument, with violin. The works on the concert program will reveal the organ’s versatility as a solo and ensemble instrument.

While each of these musicians keeps a busy teaching and performing schedule, they perform together as often as they can. Birch said they have enjoyed performing music for violin and organ throughout New England, often on vintage pipe organs.

Birch and Wieck played together at the 2007 Broad Bay concert, filling the historic church with chords that vibrated through the pews and led to many ovations. Broad Bay’s tracker organ, Opus 793, which sits front and center in the sanctuary, was built in Boston and shipped in 1875 to the Congregational Church, which stood on the site of the A.D. Gray School, in 1875. When the Congregational Church disbanded and the building was demolished, the organ was installed in what was then the First Baptist Church. Broad Bay UCC bought both the building and the organ in 2002.

Through fundraising efforts, the church was able to hire David Wallace & Co. of Gorham to start the multi-year, painstaking process of restoration. With restoration complete, the organ again takes a central place in both Sunday services and community concerts. The Hook at Broad Bay gets better and better, said Birch. Through the efforts of David Wallace and his team, and the incredible support of its congregation, the organ is playing as it was when newly made.

“It’s a very fine organ of a very fine vintage and it’s a joy to perform on an instrument so well-cared for,” he said.

Birch began organ studies with Yuko Hayashi and earned a bachelor’s degree at New England Conservatory in 1987. He continued studies with Klaas Bolt at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and later with Delores Bruch at the University of Iowa, where he earned both master’s and doctoral degrees. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and in South America. He can be heard on the Organ Historical Society recordings “Historic Organs of Connecticut,” “Historic Organs of Boston” and “Historic Organs of Seattle”; and “Exsultate — Sacred Choral and Organ Music,” recorded at St. John’s in Bangor.

Born in Latvia, Wieck received his early musical training in Riga and Moscow. In 1973, he came to the United States to study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. His principal teachers in Russia were Yuri Yankelevich and Zinaida Gilels. At Juilliard, he studied with Ivan Galamian, Joseph Fuchs, Lillian Fuchs and Paul Doktor, and chamber music with members of the Juilliard String Quartet.

After graduating from Juilliard, Wieck continued to study with composer-philosopher Iosif Andriasov. An accomplished violinist, violist and conductor, Wieck has performed and taught throughout North America, South America and Europe. He also is on the roster of the Maine Touring Artists Program. Wieck owns an 18th-century viola d’amore and performs baroque music regularly, following historic performance practices.

The concert is free, but donations are requested for the church restoration fund. Refreshments will be available after the concert in the fellowship hall. Both the church and fellowship hall are handicapped accessible.

Broad Bay is located near the post office. For more information, call the church office at 832-6898.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to