The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Ash St. in Lewiston will host a summer concert series that is free and open to the public. Donations to restore the Casavant organ will be accepted.

Noon concerts: 12:15-12:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 6 – Organist Ray Cornils

From 12:15-12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, organist Ray Cornils will perform. He is the municipal organist for the city of Portland, a post which he has held since 1990. Cornils also serves First Parish Church, UCC in Brunswick, as music director where he leads an extensive music program of five vocal and two handbell choirs. In addition, he is a member of the music faculties of Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine, and the Portland Conservatory of Music, where he teaches organ, harpsichord and related classes.

Born in Sterling, Illinois, Cornils received the B. Mus. degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the M. Mus. degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has studied organ with Robert Reeves, Fenner Douglas, William Porter, Yuko Hayashi and Gillian Weir, and harpsichord with William Porter, Lenora McCroskey, Rhona Freeman and Lisa Goode Crawford.

Cornils has concertized throughout the United States and in Germany, Russia, New Zealand and France. Recent concerts have included the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He has been a featured recitalist for conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society.


Wednesday, Aug. 13 – Organist Chris Ganza, Soprano Karen Pierce

Wednesday, Aug. 20 – Organist Mark Thallander, pianists Glenda Winkle-Morrow and Kathy Haley

Evening concerts: 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 18 – Organist Jacques Boucher and Saxophonist Sophie Poulin de Courval

Friday, Sept. 12 – Organist Rich Spotts

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, organist Rich Spotts will perform in concert. Spotts, a native of Bucks County, Penn. and a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, has set out to perform and educate the public of this seminal work, with the ultimate goal of performing the complete 15-hour cycle in a recital series over a period of 10 days.


This project has taken him to parishes and cathedrals far afield such as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Trinity Copley Square in Boston, and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in addition to churches in Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Québec City. Spotts has given over 60 recitals involving 50 institutions in the United States and Canada and he is now in the process of writing a book on the subject.

Spotts’ recital features movements from Charles Tournemire seminal work, L’Orgue Mystique. Although today Tournemire is shrouded in popular obscurity, Tournemire was one of the greatest organists of his day with his mystical organ style directly influencing the works of Olivier Messiaen, Ermend-Bonnal, Joseph Bonnet, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur, Jehan Alain, Maurice Duruflé and Jean Langlais. Born in Bordeaux in 1870, Tournemire, who was a student of César Franck and Charles Marie Widor, became organist of Sainte-Clotilde in 1898, a post Tournemire retained until his death in 1939.

Friday, Sept. 26 – Organist John West

Sunday, Oct. 5 – Mark Thallander Festival honoring the 10th anniversary of Saints Peter and Paul’s elevation to minor basilica

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