CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Peter DuBois doesn't often get invited to play organ with a symphony orchestra.
To be able to do so - and do it with the West Virginia Symphony - is doubly special.
The West Virginia native, now a church organist and music professor in New York, returns this weekend for the close of the symphony's symphonic series.
"It's pretty special," DuBois said of the concerts. "It's not something I get to do often."
DuBois is best known in Charleston for his 10-year tenure as organist with Christ Church United Methodist.
Since 1991, he has been director of music and organist at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, N.Y. In 2000, he also began teaching music at the Eastman School of Music, and since 2009, he's also hosted the National Public Radio show, "With Heart and Voice."
The busy schedule still allows DuBois time to perform a half-dozen or so concerts elsewhere each year.
"It's nice to be able to do something in Charleston," DuBois said, adding his family - including his parents - would join him for a reunion of sorts.
The symphony has selected pieces by two French composers - Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saens, for DuBois to play, along with a Bela Bartok ballet score.
"They already had the program chosen, and both pieces I've performed a number of times before," DuBois said. "These are old friends."
Still, he planned to allow himself plenty of preparation time.
"It's a real collaboration with the conductor," he added. "Grant Cooper and I will meet before the first rehearsal. We'll talk and try some things out before we get together with the orchestra."
The symphony is renting an electronic organ for the concerts Friday and Saturday, and DuBois also has to familiarize himself with its sound.
"Every instrument is very different," he said. "It's not like a piano where essentially the sound is the same. With an organ, there will be variations in the tone and how it sounds in the room. Also with an organ, the whole tonal scheme is different from instrument to instrument.
"The number of keyboards can vary from two to five - the one I'll be playing has three manuals. Then, even though the different stops might have names you recognize, there will be subtle differences. So I will spend time with it."
DuBois said as he works into playing the concert pieces, his own fine-tuning will change even more as he joins the orchestra for rehearsal.