Lester H. Groom (1929–2000) was born in Chicago and received his early keyboard training from both his mother and father. His father later became his major professor in organ and composition at Wheaton College (Illinois), where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1951. He earned the Master of Music degree in organ performance from Northwestern University in 1952. Groom held teaching positions at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago), Blue Mountain College (Mississippi), and Baker University (Kansas). He joined the faculty of Seattle Pacific University in 1969, where he taught organ, harpsichord, music theory, and composition. He retired from SPU in 1991 and was named Professor Emeritus the following year. Throughout his career, he held positions as church organist and choir director. He served as organist of First Presbyterian Church, Seattle from 1979 until his retirement in 1996.
His published works include organ and choral compositions, articles, and music reviews. He was a specialist in the art of organ improvisation and was a frequent lecturer at church music workshops and for thirteen summers he served on the faculty of the Evergreen Conference School of Church Music (Colorado).
The "Gothic Fanfare" was originally published by Abingdon Press in 1968. It is dedicated to Frederick Swann (b. 1931), one of the best-known American concert organists, and at the time the piece was written, was organist at the Riverside Church in NYC. It is a towering and memorable work, seeming more like a march than a fanfare.
Perhaps it was the grand Gothic architecture of Riverside that inspired the piece, and while not an "Epiphany piece," it does great service is a grand processional for the Three Kings!
This work is certainly Groom's most famous, and was very popular some years back. It is part of an upcoming collection of selected works by Lester Groom, soon to be published by Lorenz.
Photos of Frederick Swann and of Riverside Church are attached below.