Leadville Organist to Grace Denver Basilica
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Not all music that comes to and from Leadville is thrashed out with whisky and three string banjos. One finds talent in bars, but also in less glamorous places like Leadville’s high school concerts and churches. No matter the setting, the musician’s job remains the same: putting sound to feelings. In a church those feelings of austerity and magnificent size are best sung by the organist.
Torsell began playing the organ at age 8 and landed his first professional post at 11 in his hometown of Bellefonte, Penn. Now he is a multi-instrumental musician and vocalist whose primary focuses are classical organ, jazz piano, and sacred vocal music. In 2009, Torsell was hired as Director of Music at Blessed Sacrament Parish in the resort town of Stowe Vt., where he transformed a volunteer choir–which struggled to sing in unison–into a group capable of singing 4-part polyphony.
During two subsequent years of formation at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton Neb., Torsell spent time studying and learning about Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony. While he continued to build his organ repertoire as a seminary organist he learned more still about the integral role of sacred music in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church. Upon leaving the seminary in 2013, Patrick was hired as organist at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Littleton, Colo., a parish served by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, which celebrates Mass in the traditional Latin Form. Torsell maintains his post in Littleton while living in Leadville and directing the Holy Family Parish volunteer choir.
The Torsell name is familiar in Leadville. Patrick is also Director of Marketing, IT, and Slope Maintenaince at Ski Cooper/Chicago Ridge where his father Dan Torsell is President and General Manager. Christian Torsell, Patrick’s younger brother, is a saxophonist in the Lake County High School Band, and has created quite a buzz as an up-and-coming musician, lending his talents to a host of bands throughout the state.
Torsell will perform ten pieces on the cathedral’s Kimball-Morel & Associates organ entitled “Organ Literature Through the Years,” beginning at 3 p.m. Admission to this and every installment of the Bosetti Concert Series is free, but donations will be accepted and return to Leadville’s Holy Family Parish. Denver Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is located in downtown Denver at 1530 Logan St.
Support your local musicians and artists by following them out into the great wide open, and get in touch with Patrick Torsell by visiting Annunciation Catholic Church.