Concerts will fund historic pipe organ refurbishing

The First United Methodist Church of Ashland, 175 N. Main St., Ashland, is sponsoring a series of benefit concerts to support the refurbishment fund for the church's historic Reuter organ.

The first concert in the series will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, in the church's Historic Sanctuary. The concert will feature Margaret Evans, organist, and Barbara Evans O'Donnell, mezzo soprano.

For the second and third concerts, opera singer Pauline Sullivan and pianist Jennifer Schloming will present "Prayers In Song" at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12.

The organ was installed at the First United Methodist Church of Ashland in 1929, the same year the Great Depression hit. The instrument, which arrived from Lawrence, Kan., was installed and an inaugural concert was held.

In 1987 the organ's console was replaced and tonal updates were completed. The horizontal Spanish trumpet pipes, installed in 2004, are a memorial to Beverly Smith. It is an old Spanish tradition to place trumpet pipes in a horizontal position. This imparts a unique sound to the pipes. The organ now has 15 ranks with 1,071 pipes.

During the church's recent construction project, repairs were made to the organ. It also was cleaned, and tuned. Money was borrowed to pay for the refurbishing. The concerts are to repay the loan.

Evans is professor emeriti of music and university organist at Southern Oregon University. She also is music director at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Medford.

O'Donnell served as principal clarinetist in la Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. She also was principal clarinetist in the Cedar Rapids Symphony in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has performed in the Music at St. Mark's concert series and with the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra.

Sullivan grew up near Ashland, graduating from SOU with degrees in education and music. She earned a master's in Greeley, Colo. Sullivan teaches and performs operas, oratorios, musicals and recitals. She performed as a soloist with Rogue Opera, Rogue Music Theater, Siskiyou Singers, Rogue Valley Chorale, and the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers.

Sept. 14 concert tickets are $15/$10 at the door. Tickets for the Oct. 11 and 12 concerts are $15/$10 and are available in advance at Paddington Station in Ashland and Grocery Outlet in Medford.

Doors open a half-hour before each concert.

Call 482-3647.

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