Pipe organ duo bring pop tunes, stiletto heels to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

Pipe organ duo bring pop tunes, stiletto heels to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

WATCH: Christ Cathedral’s ‘Organ Summer Series’ features a pipe organ duet by award-winning Canadian organists. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Behind the keys of the century old pipe organ at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church tonight will be a duo of award-winning Canadian organists.

“We’re still doing the same repertoire they’re doing but just adding the fun stuff ” said organist Sarah Svendsen. 

It was their shared interest in the instrument and love of heels that brought Svendsen and her colleague Rachel Mahon together. 


“We were shopping one day and got matching shoes,” explained Mahon. “We thought we’d try playing an organ duet in big spiky heels.”

Their act called Organized Crime Duo (OCD) features traditional hymns and modern tunes mixed with eccentric costumes, dancing, comedy and sparkly stilettos. 

“We play Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach which is probably one of the most recognizable organ pieces” said Mahon.

“We also have some surprise pop music” added Svendsen. 

The fun antics only add to the performance of these accomplished musicians. 

Mahon was the first woman to hold an organ scholar’s position at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, England in its 400 year history.

Svendsen honed her craft on Canada’s largest pipe organ at Toronto’s Metropolitan United Church and is currently the music director at the Collier Street United Church in Barrie, Ontario. 

“I didn’t actually realize you could be a concert organist as a career,” Svendsen replied when asked about her career path. 

Their work is bringing the pipe organ into a new era. 

“Our performance is meant to feel like an all ages variety show” explained Svendsen.

“Come with a sense of humour” said Mahon with a laugh.

The Organized Crime Duo performs tonight at St. Andrews at 7:30 p.m. 


Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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