A community treasure will be re-dedicated this Sunday and residents are invited to hear its music played at the Washington C.H. Historic Middle School Auditorium by two professional organists.
One of only two pipe organs to be found in a school auditorium in Ohio – the other is in Greenfield – the instrument was originally installed by the Henry Pilcher and Sons Company of Louisville, Ky. in 1940. This was the result of efforts of Karl J. Kay, a teacher who headed a community-wide effort to raise the $4,415. Former school orchestra members, community and civic organizations and multiple individuals contributed to make the instrument possible.
In 1944, the graduating class added a stop to the instrument as a memorial to those who had served in World War II. The organ has served since then, but had suffered deterioration in many of its systems over the years. About 12 years ago, a small community group, chaired by Pam Feick, a retired Washington Schools counselor, began raising money with the hope of restoring the instrument.
That effort was capped by a grant from the State of Ohio Facilities Commission in 2015 which permitted much renovation, most especially the complete up-grading of the console, the part of the organ visible to the audience, and other critical elements. The work on the instrument was completed by volunteers Craig Jaynes of Jamestown and Charles Potter of Columbus. The newly re-furbished instrument now contains 28 speaking stops.
“This is the dedication concert that we were going to hold when the organ was finished and now that it is finished, this is our opportunity to have the community come and listen to the restored organ,” Feick said. “Not only are we inviting the community, we are going to invite representatives who helped to get the funding in the state’s budget.”
Jaynes will be one of the two organists performing at the re-dedication program this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the auditorium. Jaynes is the organist and choir director of St. Colman Church in Washington Court House, where he is in his 12th year, and has been a church musician for the past 55 years. He once studied with Virgil Fox, considered the most famous organist in America in the 20th century, who played the original dedication recital in 1940. The re-dedication program will be a reflection of Fox’s original program, with some of the pieces being duplicated.
The second performer is Nelly Maude Case, a granddaughter of the late Mr. Kay. She has recently retired from SUNY-Potsdam, New York, where she was a professor of music history and organist of the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Canton, NY for over 25 years.
Jaynes and Case will perform an organ duet for the grand finale.
The information in this article was provided by Craig Jaynes and Pam Feick.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy