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Casavant Organ Debut Festival Feb. 20-22

February 17, 2009

The Casavant Organ Debut Festival recital is the debut of the organ in its new home, the University Center for the Arts' Organ Recital Hall.

Casavant Organ Debut Festival

In celebration of the life of Robert Cavarra
Concert by Joel Bacon, Organ
Friday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m.
Organ Recital Hall, University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington St., Fort Collins, Colo.
$10, $5/CSU students, $5/youth (ages 6-17)

Joel Bacon, the Stewart and Sheron Golden Endowed Chair of Organ and Liturgical Studies at CSU, celebrates the rich legacy of Colorado State University’s internationally renowned Casavant Organ.

Tribute to Robert N. Cavarra

The Casavant Organ Debut Festival, In celebration of the life of Robert Cavarra, tributes Robert N. Cavarra, former professor emeritus of music, and includes a memorial concert to honor Cavarra’s life and contributions to CSU. Cavarra, who passed away on Feb. 8, 2008, brought international acclaim to CSU by bringing the Casavant organ to campus in 1968.

The memorial service and concert will be held Saturday, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets for the Feb. 21 memorial concert were released to the public and sold out. Additional tickets may be made available on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at

Priceless organ originally constructed in 1968

The Casavant Organ was built in the style of the Northern German organs of the 17th and 18th centuries, designed specifically for Room 203 of the Music Building before the University Center for the Arts was constructed. In 1968, Cavarra wrote that the organ “is certainly unsurpassed in quality by any organ in America.” Anton Heiller, a world renowned organist from Austria and one of Cavarra’s mentors, said the Casavant was among “the 25 greatest organs of the world.”

The now priceless organ has 2,096 pipes, a 56-note keyboard, a 32-note pedal board, and 34 stops. In its new recital hall in the University Center for the Arts, the expansive Casavant sweeps the entire north wall, the tallest pipes reaching 19 feet. After 3,000 hours spent meticulously cleaning, restoring, and moving the organ, the Casavant has been relocated to the building’s renovated original theatre by Parsons Pipe Organ Builders of Canandaigua, New York. Ric Parsons, the company’s president, said the new hall where the organ resides is “a splendid place for the Casavant. The visual appeal, the warm sound, the rich history – it’s like the room was built just for the organ.”

Honoring Cavarra's legacy & artistry

Before his passing, Cavarra (pictured at right) was instrumental in supervising the move and restoration of the Casavant. He was a great supporter of the University Center for the Arts project. “I know that Robert and the organ builder Lawrence Phelps always wished the Casavant organ was in a room with better acoustics,” Barbara Cavarra says. “Moving the organ to the University Center for the Arts made that wish possible. He was most grateful to the University and all those involved in keeping the integrity of the organ intact.”

Though Cavarra will not be present to experience the debut of the Casavant in its new home, friends and community members will remember Cavarra’s legacy and dedication to his artistry. Performing for a packed house, Cavarra appeared at numerous organ recitals and guest appearances, of which many were standing-room only events.

School of the Arts

Contact: Jennifer Clary
Phone: (970) 491-3903