For the past 21 years, since the death of Virgil Fox in 1980, the Virgil Fox Society has scheduled a Memorial Concert. (The 2001 Virgil Fox Memorial Concert took place on the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia’s Lord & Taylor on Columbus Day weekend.) Beginning in 2002, when the concert will generate a festival weekend of related events, the name will change to reflect the growing success of the Society’s annual commemoration of Virgil Fox’s life’s work: VIRGIL FOX FESTIVAL 2002.

Steven Frank, President of the Virgil Fox Society, and Len Levasseur, Festival Producer, have chosen a holiday weekend, Labor Day 2002, to accommodate the heavy concert schedule of Atlanta’s 4,500-seat Fox Theatre—where Virgil Fox played a legendary, sold out “Fox at the Fox” concert in the 1970s. The theatre features one of America’s great theatre style concert organs, a four manual, 42 rank Möller dubbed “Mighty Mo,” which was a favorite of America’s most famous organist—as was Atlanta itself.

Four well-known organists, all classically trained but who play primarily on theatre organs—who all were friends and colleagues of Virgil Fox, will perform: Larry Douglas Embury, Tom Hazelton, Lyn Larsen, and Jonas Nordwall. The concert will take place on Sunday afternoon, September 1, at 3:00. A reception for premium ticket holders will be held at 6:00 at the Georgian Terrace Hotel across Peachtree Street from the Fox. The gala concert will contain elements of multi-media, as did Fox’s famous 1970’s all-Bach touring attraction, “Heavy Organ.”

The day before, Saturday, August 31 will feature additional events related to VIRGIL FOX FESTIVAL 2002. That evening a former student of Fox, Richard Morris, will perform at Spivey Hall, Clayton College and State University, in nearby Jonesboro, Georgia. Artist-in Residence at Spivey Hall, Richard Morris has followed in Fox’s footsteps with an international concert and recording career.

The Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ, a three manual, 79 rank instrument built by Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua, Italy in 1992, was donated to the College by close friends of Virgil Fox, Walter and Emilie Parmalee Spivey—along with a beautiful, acoustically ideal 400-seat concert hall. The concert will be at 8:00 p.m. on August 31; again a reception will follow for premium ticket holders.

Also on Saturday, at the festival hotel’s Georgian Terrace Convention Center, the Virgil Fox Society will sponsor a series of sessions — both entertaining and educational — about Virgil Fox, the Atlanta organ, and other subjects of interest to Virgil Fox fans and organ aficionados. Richard Torrence and Marshall Yaeger, authors of the highly acclaimed 2001 biography, “Virgil Fox (The Dish),” will be on hand to tell stories and answer questions in one of the sessions. Joe G. Patten, restorer and curator of the Atlanta Fox organ, will lead a session about “Mighty Mo” and the Fox Theatre. Additional sessions are being planned, and refreshments will be served.

Organs in Atlanta’s large selection of churches and synagogues will be highlighted throughout the festival weekend, as will many interesting historical and entertainment attractions in Atlanta. Previous Virgil Fox Memorial Concerts have drawn participants from as far away as Australia, and so special accommodations, including late night amusements, are being arranged to attract and entertain people from outside Atlanta.

For information about these concerts, as well as about other events that are planned to coincide with the festival weekend, go to <www.virgilfox.com>.

Release date 14 February 2002