The Fairfield Concert Association will present “An Evening at the Pops — Barhydt Organ Style” with R. Jelani Eddington at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.
During the years that Eddington has given concerts, he has easily established himself as one of the most prominent and sought-after artists on the concert circuit. He has performed in most of the major concert venues throughout the United States, has toured extensively abroad, and has received numerous awards and recognitions, including his selection as the 2001 Theater Organist of The Year.
Eddington was born in Muncie, Indiana, and grew up in a very musical family. Between the interests of his mother, a professional music teacher of many years, and those of his grandmother, a well-respected piano instructor, it was no surprise when he demonstrated an inclination toward music at a very early age.
Shortly after beginning piano instruction at the age of 4, Eddington began studying classical piano under the direction of his grandmother. At the age of 8, a trip to hear the four- manual 42-rank Wurlitzer theater pipe organ installed in the Indianapolis, Indiana, restaurant, the Paramount Music Palace, introduced him to the sounds of the theater pipe organ. Soon thereafter, he began to pursue classical organ lessons and ultimately began studying theater organ under the direction of John Ferguson, whose skills as a theater organ instructor have been highly acclaimed internationally.
At the age of 13, Eddington won the American Theater Organ Society’s Young Theater Organist Competition, prevailing over competitors ages 13-21 from the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand. He remains the youngest competitor ever to win this title. Eddington went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Indiana University in 1996, and later received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1999, after which time he was admitted to practice law in New York and later in Wisconsin.
During the course of his concert career, Eddington has been featured at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Theater Organ Society, and has toured extensively throughout the world. He has also produced and marketed over 30 theater organ albums on some of the best-known and most dynamic instruments in the country.
In 2014, Eddington became the first and — to date — only-musician to have a video of his theater organ performance go “viral.” Within a few short weeks, his performance of John William’s Star Wars Symphonic Suite was viewed on YouTube over 1 million times in more than 200 countries around the world. As of 2019, that video has earned more than 3 million views worldwide.
General admission tickets for R.J. Eddington, which is part of the 218-19 Sondheim Organ Music Spotlight Series, are $18 adults and $10 student. Tickets are available at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center ticket office, 472-2787 and www.FairfieldACC.com.
Fairfield Concert Association members are admitted with proof of membership; no ticket is required from the ticket office.