After a few years of working on the Historic Washington Middle School Auditorium, an “Organ Restoration Dedication Concert” will be held this month to commemorate all of the efforts put into the facility.
“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,” Pam 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.”
The dedication concert will be held on Oct. 23 at 3 p.m. at the Washington City Schools auditorium. This event is open to the public and Feick said the organizers would like to invite everyone out.
The auditorium, built in 1939, has been the community’s “heart of the arts,” according to Feick, who has been helping to lead the charge for renovations. The projects being completed are thanks to appropriated money through a line item in the capital improvements bill, enacted in even numbered years by the General Assembly. In an effort to make sure the project is included, it needs to have the support of the district’s representatives in the General Assembly.
“We got a grant from a line item in the capital budget, which Representative Gary Scherer and Senator Bob Peterson had to personally put that money into the budget,” Feick said. “We were notified in June of 2014 that we received the funding and had until June of this year to complete the project. It was assigned to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and we had even received a $5,000 grant from Travel & Tourism. When we were seeking that first big grant, I had invited Scherer down, and we had a meeting with the city manager, city council, commissioners, school board and other groups in the town to see if fixing the auditorium would be a possibility. We even asked residents to write letters and when we received the grant, Scherer told me it was because of the community support that we had for the project. We are just trying to protect an asset that benefits more than just the school district, but the entire community and county as a whole.”
With the funds acquired from 2014, the group completed renovation of the 1940 Memorial Pipe Organ. These renovations were completed by the Walker Technical Company in Pennsylvania and also by Craig Jaynes, tonal director of Jamestown Organ Works, and Charles Potter. Jaynes and others will perform during the concert to show off the capabilities and sounds of the organ.
More money from the state could help to purchase additional sound, lighting and rigging equipment, an expansion of the stage, improvements to the restroom and facility handicap area, plaster and painting of damaged areas, and grand stage and wall curtains.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy