Organist Gail Archer Joins Potsdam Community Chorus for Requiem


The 100-voice Potsdam Community Chorus will present Requiem, Op. 9 by 20th century French composer Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.
The chorus and soloists will be accompanied by organist Gail Archer, an internationally renowned concert and recording artist, choral conductor and lecturer. Archer will also perform solo works on the Crane School’s Wicks organ.

The concert is free; donations are appreciated to help support the choir’s community outreach programming.

Potsdam Community Chorus is led by musical director and conductor Dr. Jeffrey D. Francom of the Crane faculty. Dr. Francom also directs the Crane Chorus and Men’s Ensemble, and teaches secondary choral practices. For more information, contact Francom at (315) 267-2399 or

Immediately following the April 22 concert, there will be a reception for Archer at the First Presbyterian Church, 42 Elm St., Potsdam. From 5 to 6 p.m., she will present a short slideshow about some of the world’s great pipe organs, and play the Presbyterian Church’s organ. Her visit to Potsdam is co-sponsored by PCC, the St. Lawrence River Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the church. Archer is the college organist at Vassar College, and director of the music program at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she conducts the Barnard-Columbia Chorus. She serves as director of the artist and young organ artist recitals at historic Central Synagogue in New York City.

Completed in 1947, Duruflé’s Requiem is dedicated to the memory of his father. The Requiem is based on Gregorian chants used in the traditional Mass for the Dead. It was performed at Duruflé’s memorial in 1986. The composer said the use of the organ in the piece “represents the idea of peace, of faith and hope.”

PCC’s members are students from local colleges and high schools and community residents from St. Lawrence and Franklin counties. Choristers range in age from teens to senior citizens.  Now in its twelfth year, the chorus performs a spring and fall concert, as well as a community outreach concert each year.