Photo of an organ lit up and a Mountie next to a performer
The Calgary Organ Festival, Spirit Wind takes place July 2 to 5, 2018 | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Music Events

Calgary Organ Festival

Celebrate Calgary’s king of instruments at this impressive festival

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price Free - $40
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A series of exciting and inspiring events in celebration of the pipe organ and the people who love them, join the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO), Calgary Centre for the 2018 Calgary Organ Festival.

With the theme of Spirit Wind, the RCCO holds this annual festival each summer in different centres from coast-to-coast. Calgary’s turn includes offers day recitals and evening concerts by internationally known organists, as well as masterclasses, workshops, lectures, a coffee house, and an exhibit hall.

“We’ll be pulling out all the stops at the Calgary Organ Festival and we hope to see a broad spectrum of music-lovers to the events,” says Chellan Hoffman, one of the members of the 2018 Calgary Organ Festival Programming Committee in a statement. “There’s truly something for everyone—from an OrgelKids Workshop [build-a-mini-organ] to celebrity solo concerts which feature both classic organ repertoire as well as new compositions and commissions by North American composers.”

Not sure where to start? Here’s what we’re checking out during the four-day festival:

Kids ‘n’ Keys Camp

July 2, 2018, 12:00 – 2:00pm
Knox United Church (506 4th St. SW)
Free, registration required

A two-hour educational experience geared towards kids aged seven to 14, enjoy activities and games to learn more about the organ. There’s even a chance to build a mini-organ in the OrgelKidsCAN Workshop. Reserve your seat by emailing

Ryan Jackson

July 2, 2018, 8:00pm
Knox United Church (506 4th St. SW)

The opening concert of the festival presents Ryan Jackson, the winner of numerous prestigious competitions and Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. The concert features both mainstream music and a new composition commissioned by Zachary Wadsworth.

An Evening with Paul Halley

July 3, 2018, 8:00pm
Knox United Church (506 4th St. SW)

Organist/pianist Paul Halley’s music awakens the spirit and feeds the soul. A blend of jazz, gospel, chant, world rhythms, soaring melodies, and luscious harmonies, hear this five-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, composer, director, and performer play the four-manual 1912 Casavant organ.

Missa Gaia and the Music of Paul Halley

July 4, 2018, 8:00pm
Knox United Church (506 4th St. SW)

Organ, piano, percussion, and instrumental ensemble creates the musical background for a mass choir to perform Missa Gaia (Mass for the Earth). The concert features the Festival Chorus, Nick Halley, and Spirit Wind musicians.

Organ à la Carte with Neil Cockburn and Guests

July 5, 2018, 8:00pm
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons (205 8th Avenue. SE)

The festival’s gala concert, Calgary’s own Neil Cockburn showcases the Carthy organ at Jack Singer Concert Hall in an evening of collaborations with local instrumentalists and vocalists. Reminiscent of the long-running noon-time concert series Organ à la Carte, this classic concert features music by Handel, Couperin, Corrette, and Stanford.

The Calgary Organ Festival runs July 2 to 5, 2018. Head to for the full schedule.