Debut progressive organ concert and dinner was a sellout

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2018 at 10:17 am

Cobblestone Museum has busy calendar of events

Photos by Tom Rivers: Gary Simboli plays the organ at the First Baptist Church in Albion on Saturday night, the final stop in a progressive organ concert that was also a progressive dinner.

The Cobblestone Society & Museum organized the first time event it was a sellout with 80 participants.

Maarit Vaga, the event organizer, wanted to showcase three historic churches and their pipe organs. Besides the First Baptist Church, the event included stops at Christ Church and the Cobblestone Universalist Church.

The event featured three very different historic pipe organs. Simboli played a 1925 Moller Pipe Organ. The instrument features two separate pipe chambers and pressure driven pneumatic action. Simboli is an award-winning instrumental music teacher at Albion High School.

Simboli was joined by guest soloist, the Reverend Aleka Schmidt who is pastor of the First Baptist Church. She is also a classically trained soprano.

Dessert was served following Simboli’s recital.

Christ Church was the second stop on the progressive event. After the concert, Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Museum, gives instructions to the crowd about dinner, which was served in the church’s fellowship hall.

Darryl Smith performed on the 1877 Steer & Turner Pipe Organ at Christ Church. This instrument is unique in that it maintains its original mechanical linkage, known as tracker action, between the keyboard and pipes. Smith is the principal organist at Christ Church.

Maarit Vaga prepared a beef bourguignon dinner.

The event started at the Cobblestone Universalist Church, which was built in 1834, making it North America’s oldest cobblestone church. The first stop on the progressive concert included appetizers and wine.

Andrew Meier of Medina played the 1904 Estey Reed Organ. This unusual instrument was built for church performance in Brattleboro, Vermont, and features two full keyboards and a pedal board. Meier is the principal organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina.

The Cobblestone Museum has an expanded schedule of events this year. Next up is Friday at 6 p.m. with a tour of eight outhouses at the museum.

For more on the museum, click here.

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