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Archives Cathedral celebrates 70 years with recital

November 2, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – At age 17, Dominic Fiacco isn’t spending his free time playing hours and hours of video games. Instead, he’s playing hours and hours of organ music.

Fiacco, a resident of Poland, New York, gave an organ recital on the new organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Oct. 23, part of the cathedral’s 70th anniversary celebration.

While he’s been playing music – piano especially – since age 4, Fiacco first found his love of the organ during a concert he attended at age 8.

“The piano really has only one sound,” Fiacco said. “The organ has dozens and dozens of sounds. It can be soft flute, bells, a huge, loud trumpet, strings and combinations of sounds. And the organ also has pedals, and you have to learn to play with your feet just like you play with your hands, and it has multiple keyboards.”

Fiacco, who is home schooled, practices his craft at least a couple of hours each day.

“Because I’m home schooled, my classes are pretty flexible, and my parents are very supportive,” he said. “I do my class work, I practice for a couple of hours each day, and other than that I get to do pretty normal stuff.”

While he does “the hard work” at home, learning arrangements of musical pieces, Fiacco said the “fun part” begins when he sits down at an organ for the first time.

“Every organ has different sounds, a different experience,” he said, as he acclimated to the organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral. “Experimenting with the sounds of a new organ is really fun. I do the hard work at home, so I can have fun with this part. You need to spend a long time working on the organ and testing sounds until you find what you like.”

Fiacco practiced on the cathedral organ Thursday, Friday and Saturday, joining the cathedral music ministry team for Saturday Mass and playing his recital on Sunday.

“I try to pick pieces I think the audience would like – a mix of fun pieces with more intellectual pieces,” he said.

“I also aim for contrast. I almost always open and end with an open, loud exciting piece. I tend to go with softer pieces in the middle. I like really dramatic French pieces of the 20th century, a lot of French Catholic pieces.”

In fact, it’s Fiacco’s work in music ministry that has given him the greatest joy.

“I think playing in churches is more important than recitals,” he said. “Mostly because Mass is more important than recitals. I like the sense that I can contribute to worship. I like feeling of uplifting them. I like studying the text of hymns to come up with sounds that match. If the verse is triumphant, I’ll play it with loud, big sounds. If a verse is more somber, I can play more dramatic or somber music with it.”



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