Grotz to Play an Organ Concert, “Four Pillars” by Classical Composers at Mitchells Presbyterian | Recent news
One of the top graduates of the Eastern View High School Class of 2014 will present a free public concert this month featuring pieces by four classical organ composers in the beautiful sanctuary of historic Mitchells Presbyterian Church in Culpeper County.
The community is cordially invited to the organ concert by Daniel Grotz which will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 17.
The “Four Pillars” concert will present the repertoire of four of the most influential organ composers: JS Bach, César Franck, Charles-Marie Widor and Paul Manz.
The Culpeper musician is a 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia and currently organist at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in Charlottesville. Grotz began playing the piano at age 8 and grew up in Mitchells Presbyterian Church, where his father, John, pastored for 24 years.
Attending UVA exposed him to “truly amazing organs” that he had never heard while living in Culpeper, Grotz said in a message to the Culpeper Star-Exponent. The experience inspired him to pick up the instrument.
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Grotz said he came to love it more than the piano and became a more serious musician because of it. After college he considered teaching English in a foreign country, an earlier passion, but then found the job of organist in Charlottesville at a church with a full organ.
“I decided to take the job and try to become a full-time musician instead,” he said, citing a good relationship with gigs in Charlottesville and the music scene there.
“By then it was clear that my future lay in music, so I completely focused on the organ and here is four years later,” Grotz said.
In August, Grotz will begin a two-year program at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory to earn a master’s degree in organ performance.
He will also apprentice at the Episcopal Cathedral in Cincinnati, according to a press release from Mitchells Presbyterian.
Mitchells Presbyterian Church began around 1844 in Orange County and was known as Rapid Ann Presbyterian Chapel, according to church history.
On October 18, 1867, just after the Civil War, the congregation obtained permission from Rappahannock Presbytery to organize as the Rapidan Church.
Due to the rising Rapidan River, the Culpeper County congregation decided to move to “this side of the river.” The current sanctuary and church, built in the Carpenter Gothic style, was dedicated in 1879 and the name changed to Mitchells Presbyterian Church in 1888, according to church history.
The church commissioned the Italian immigrant artist Joseph Oddenino in the years 1892-1899 to paint the interior walls. He used the technique of trompe-l’oeil, from the French meaning “to deceive the eye”. The church is listed on the Virginia Register of Historic Landmarks and the National Register of Historic Places.