The Port Gardner Bay Music Society’s Nov. 17 concert will feature Halden Toy, an organist from Marysville.

The Port Gardner Bay Music Society’s Nov. 17 concert will feature Halden Toy, an organist from Marysville.

Hear a highly regarded organist play a highly regarded organ

Halden Toy’s performance will include a Bach composition that he’s spent months studying.

Organist Halden Toy began his career at age 19 when he was selected to play the instrument at Everett’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.

You will get a chance to hear him in a recital Sunday. He’ll be performing on an organ revered for the quality of its workmanship.

Toy, now 26, is working and attending Skagit Valley College, so his performances of late have been limited.

Among organists, he is well-known for his masterly skills. In 2017, he performed in the West Regional Convention of American Guild of Organists.

In 2010, he was named as a rising star at the American Guild of Organists national convention. And in 2015, he was named by the trade magazine The DIAPASON as among a group of 20 outstanding organists under 30.

Lee Mathews, who heads the Port Gardner Bay Music Society, which is sponsoring the concert, called Toy “a sensational virtuoso organist.”

Toy, from Marysville, will be performing on the organ at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Everett. Sunday’s event will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the installation of the church’s Casavant organ, which was made in Canada.

“They’ve always been outstanding quality,” Toy said. “It’s really nice to have something by them so close to home — (down) here in Snohomish County.”

Toy said he is still finalizing his program, but he knows the concert will include “Gymnopédies” by Erik Satie and Bach’s “Jesus, Priceless Treasure,” a composition that he said is difficult to learn.

“I spent months studying this work with a Bach specialist in Portland,” Toy said.

Toy said he is preparing a handout so that concertgoers can follow along with each section in the composition. “If you break it down for people, it means more to them,” he said.

These days, Toy’s performances are squeezed in here and there on weekends, sometimes as a substitute organist at local churches.

That’s because much of his time is now split between a job at a local truck leasing company and his courses at Skagit Valley College, where he is working to complete a program in diesel power technology.

“That open up more pathways to what I want to do — work alongside engineers,” he said. “It’s always been my second passion in life.”

He said he plans to return to college for degrees in music, with a goal of earning his bachelor’s, master’s and perhaps a doctorate degree in the field.

Toy said he’s excited about the chance to perform the music at Sunday’s concert.

“You cannot not be moved by what you hear, especially when you sit in a big church — how it can evoke such a powerful feeling within you,” he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Halden Toy’s recital is at 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 215 Mukilteo Blvd., Everett. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and military, and $5 for students. Go to www.pgbmusicsociety.com for more information.

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