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Munson pipes out chilling tunes from Palomar pipe organ

Dr. Michael Munson, an organist, rehearses for Concert Hour at D5 room in Palomar College, Oct. 23, 2014 • Yoshikazu Yamashita/ The Telescope

Palomar’s Pipe Organ brought a beautiful whistle to the first Concert Hour of the fall semester. This years performance was extra special as Palomar’s faculty and students celebrated 50 years of the Pipe Organ being at the college.

The room was filled with people of all ages and passions, all there to witness a performance by Palomar Professor Michael Munson, a pianist and self taught organist.

“I started playing piano when I was 11,” said Munson. “At 13, I started playing the organ because I go to church every week and I thought it was cool.”

Munson impressed the audience with his confident aura on the Organ, and his proud smile after each performance was accompanied by a thankful bow.

The first piece performed was “Fourth Symphony for Organ, Op. 13, No. 4” composed by Charles Marie Widor. This opened the concert with a classic feel that only the Pipe Organ can bring. It was a special treat for those in the audience to watch Munson play the organ and mesmerizing for those who have never seen an organ played before.

“This is my first concert hour,” said Tanner Smith, a music major at Palomar who has received private piano lessons from Munson. “I’m a big fan of Michael Munson,” Smith added, remarking that Munson is an incredible teacher and performer.

No eyes wandered as sounds from the organ blended together, vibrating from different areas of the room. The changing of the stops, the pressing of the foot pedals and hands moving simultaneously but with different purposes.

“Trio Sonata No. 4 in E Minor BWV 528,” was Munson’s next choice, by baroque-era composer J.S. Bach. Munson explained that most organists will play a piece by Bach as he’s known to use melodies and repetition to evoke emotion from his audiences.

Munson finished off his performance with “Variations on a Theme of Paganini”, by composer Johannes Brahms, and “Four Concert Etudes” by David Briggs. The grand finale left the room with a soft warm feeling of appreciation and Munson with a standing ovation.

To find out more on upcoming Palomar concert hour events you can contact Palomar Performing Arts by phone at 760-744-1150 x2453, by email at, or visit their website at

Image Sources

  • concert-hour-header: Telescope Staff/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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