BENNINGTON -- Organist Charles Olegar, director of music of Bennington’s historic Old First Church, is offering four forty-five-minute recitals on the church’s pipe instrument during July and August (July 7 and 21, August 4 and 18), each program open to the public without charge (freewill donations encouraged). Olegar’s slate features a variety of classical organ music ranging from pre-Bach to twentieth century, with a major Bach work appearing on each program. Pre-Bach offerings include selections by Buxtehude and Pachelbel, with Romantic samplings drawing from Mendelssohn and Rheinberger, and the modern era including pieces by Britten and Langlais.
Commenting on the series, Charles Olegar states : "There is so much surpassingly great organ music that needs to be experienced through live performances! These pieces are among the chief treasures of classical music, and if they are not performed, they remain a closed book on a shelf."
Since this past December, Olegar has been heading the music ministries of Bennington’s First Baptist and Old First Congregational churches jointly, having come to the area from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where for the previous eight years he served St. James Episcopal Church as organist-choir director. As a career church musician and concert performer, Olegar’s professional activities have centered in the Northeast, South, and Midwest, including cathedral and college positions, along with independent arts organizations.
At-the-door donations will be directed toward funding improvements to Old First’s 45 year-old pipe organ, along with operational costs of the church’s new "Musick and Song’ series. Old First Church is located at 60 Monument Avenue and Main Street in Old Bennington, on the Public Green adjacent to Old Bennington’s historic cemetery.