Perhaps it’s still a dream, but we are really looking forward to next summer! We have been given the “green light” to plan for a world class organ concert here at George Washington Inn and Estate. The Dutch organ prodigy, Gert van Hoef, has accepted an invitation to come and put on a concert for the second annual Washington Music Festival, his first concert in the United States.
Just who is Gert van Hoef? Well, he got off to a late start when he started playing on the organ with his grandfather at the age of 14. (It’s great to see that the impact of his grandfather is still with him. He told me on the phone that he has coffee with him every week and is always challenged to “Keep up the good work!”)
Gert was inspired. Often he would practice from 5 to 12 hours a day. He made up for lost time and his dedication paid off when he won a national organ competition at the age of 16.
Just two years later, listen to his improvisation and performance of “‘Heer, U bent mijn leven de grond waarop ik sta”.
Here is a recent birthday party concert where he includes some incredible pedal-work for a very enthusiastic audience.
This fall he began his advanced musical studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. His concerts have taken him all over the Netherlands and into Belgium.
Here is his letter of acceptance for next summer’s concert here in Port Angeles, Washington:
First of all I would like to thank you for your invitation. A concert trip to the US means a lot for me, and I am definitely willing to contribute to your music festival. The dates do not seem to be a problem, since your festival is planned during my summer vacation. My concerts might be slightly different from what people are used to. I usually reckon with 2 hours for an organ concert including a small break in the program. We can discuss your wishes for the program at a later stage…I hope that this message answers your questions for now. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact me directly. I am looking forward to hearing from you and wish you all the best in organizing the Music Festival.
Best Regards, Gert van Hoef”
We’re planning to have an Eminent Capella Concerto organ set up on the inn’s portico for Gert to use during the festival event. During his high school years he worked as a demonstrator for Eminent Organs in Voorthuizen, Netherlands. Of course he is partial to this fine Dutch electronic church and home organ!
Additional concerts are being planned while he is in the Pacific Northwest for his North American debut. If you are in the greater Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver areas and would like to host Gert for a concert, please submit the contact form, found below the links.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – February 5, 2014
Unfortunately we are going to have to cancel our Organ Concert with Gert van Hoef as planned for this coming summer! His 7 yr old sister (Marjolein) is fighting for her life with a form of leukemia and the family’s efforts have to be focused on her treatment and recovery. Gert has provided a statement. Your prayers would be appreciated. Here’s the blog that her family has begun: http://www.marjoleinvanhoef.nl/blog.html
Gert’s Statement: “We have decided to cancel the trip to America and the concerts over there. Our reason is that my sister has leukemia. It is too dangerous to come to America, because she is very sick and may not survive this. So we would like to stay home this summer. Again, thank you so much for the support and all the effort you have taken to plan these concerts for me. We really looked forward to it. We are very sorry that we are unable to come. I hope sometime in another year that we can still come. Thanks for everything you have done to us.” With kind regards, Gert van Hoef