Westminster to celebrate pipe organ restoration with rededication recital
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 17 William Street, will celebrate its newly restored E.M. Skinner pipe organ with a rededication and recital on Friday, May 6, 2022 at 7 PM in the sanctuary, as one of Auburn’s “First Friday” events. The program is free and open to the public and will feature three talented organists, who will demonstrate both the versatility and majesty of the “King of Instruments”.
Lori Rhodes-Pettit, organist and music director at Westminster Church, will play the hymn version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” in tribute to our church’s capital campaign of the same name, which raised nearly $300,000 in grants, donations, pledges, and stock transfers for funding the $350,000 organ restoration project. Ms. Pettit will also accompany soprano soloist Diane deRoos, who will reprise two songs from the original 1926 organ dedication recital: Gounod’s “Ave Maria” and Mendelssohn’s “O Rest in the Lord” from “Elijah”.
Also featured will be organist Toni Sullivan, Director of Music at the Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, who has studied church music at Westminster Choir College and Hartt School of Music. Ms. Sullivan will play Widor’s Toccata from his 5th Symphony for Organ.
The third organist at the May 6th dedication will be Kip Coerper, Organist and Choirmaster of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles, NY, and an organ and choral conducting graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio. He furthered his musical education studying at Westminster Choir College, the Hartt School of Music, Catholic University of America, and the University of the South. He is also a member of the American Guild of Organists and has received its Service Playing and Choirmaster Certificates. Mr. Coerper’s selections will include “Rhosymedre” by Ralph Vaughan-Williams and J.S. Bach’s “In Thee is Gladness”, another piece that was played for the original dedicatory recital. The concert will conclude with the congregational singing of a rousing hymn “When in Our Music God is Glorified”.
ODE TO JOY RESTORATION
Westminster Church is the home of an E.M. Skinner pipe organ (Opus 579), installed in 1926. Almost 100 years old, this magnificent instrument is played weekly for Sunday worship services, as well as for funerals, weddings, baptisms, holiday services, and community concerts. Although faithfully maintained by the congregation throughout the years, the organ is showing its age and is need of extensive repairs and restoration.