Organ Festival

Isabelle Demers’ recital for the 2010 International Society of Organbuilders-American Institute of Organbuilders convention “left the entire congress in an atmosphere of “Demers fever” ̶  something that continues unabated over ten years later. Possessing “bracing virtuosity” (Chicago Classical Review), she has enraptured listeners worldwide with spell-binding performances. Born in Québec and a graduate of Juilliard, Dr. Demers is Head of the Organ Department at Baylor University in Texas. Her acclaimed recordings on the Acis and Pro Organo labels have been heralded as “expressive…profound and searching” (RSCM’s Church Music Quarterly).


Festival Beginnings

Along with the voices of the worshipers and the choirs, the organ that is cherished for its unique breath is used for musically expressing and sharing our faith. On Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 the Quimby Opus 70 IV manual / 57 Rank Shirley and Ralph Morgan Memorial Organ was dedicated. Ken Cowan from Rice University Shepherd School of Music gave the dedicatory concert on May 2, 2014. The Catalina Organ Festival was established in 2014 with a winter series of 3 major concerts, and a summer luncheon series, called ‘In From the Heat.’

Internationally Renowned Musicians

Internationally Renowned Musicians

The Catalina Organ Festival has recently hosted international performing organists Shin-Young Lee (Nov. 2019), Kimberly Marshall (Feb 2020) and the Southwestern Premiere of Dr. Pamela Decker’s monumental ‘The Last Words and Triumph of Christ, performed by Douglas Cleveland (Feb 2019) with choreography by Kaley Jensen and U of A dancers Danielle Goodman and Shelby Foster.

The festival has also been fortunate to host Olivier Latry, Katelyn Emerson, Christa Miller, David Enlow, John Schwandt, Raúl Prieto Ramírez, Isabelle Demers, Christopher Houlihan, Ken Cowan, Peter Krasinski, Colin Lynch, Jan Kraybill and Dorothy Papadakos. International artists, Renée Anne Louprette and Chelsea Chen have also performed honoring the legacy of the late Roy Johnson, professor of organ at the University of Arizona.

In addition, to the major winter concert venues the summer ‘In From The Heat’ luncheon recital series feature local organists from the Southwest. The 2019 summer concerts included Ilona Kubiaczyk-Adler, Janet Tolman, Larry Kuipers, Dennis Grannan, Maxine Thévenot and Edmund Connolly. Other regional organists have brought memorable recitals to our summer series: Joseph Ripka, Ji-Sun Lee, Michael Lich, Gordon Stevenson, Margaret Martin Kvamme, Paul Lee, Pamela Decker, Jeffrey Campbell, David Horr, Douglas Leightenheimer, Woosug Kang, Emma Whitten, Jared Isaac Aragon with Samavaya and David Ramirez on flutes.

WE would like to also thank the S. Arizona Chapter of American Guild of Organists (SAAGO), Catalina United Methodist Church and the many ‘angels’ who have generously supported the festival since its inception in 2014!