O Festive Day (A Fantaisie for Organ) was commissioned by Michael Lodico, Sr. in honor of the 60th birthday of his wife, Mary Alice. The mother of two children, Michael and Anna, Mrs. Lodico was a teacher of French and English in North Carolina schools for many years. In 1989 she received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to collect traditional children’s songs (chansons et comptines) in France. The resulting collection was used in Mrs. Lodico’s elementary school teaching in both France and in America. Three of her collected chansons et comptines form the basis of O Festive Day.
O Festive Day is a celebrative one-movement organ piece of approximately six minutes in length and was completed early in 2012. With full registration of foundations, mixtures and reeds, parts of the tune, Dans le pré s’en va le train, are hinted at in the rhythmic and fanfare-like opening section of O Festive Day. Soon the entire tune is prominently heard in the manuals of the organ. This festive section then folds into a quiet, lyrical middle section for solo diapason, reed and flute colors accompanied by celeste strings. In this part of the piece a second French melody, Les mains volent, is heard. A stately transitional section, reflecting the opening flourishes of the beginning of the piece, leads to a vibrant conclusion that features, with the power of full organ, the third French tune, L’araignée Gypsie.
The World Premiere of O Festive Day took place on 7 July 2012 in a recital at the First United Methodist Church of Waynesville, North Carolina, performed by Mrs. Lodico’s son, Washington, DC organist and teacher, Michael Lodico, Jr.