100 attend progressive organ concert at 3 historic churches in Medina

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Organist Aaron Grabowski explains the harpsichord at St. Mary’s Church in Medina to the nearly 100 who participated in a progressive organ tour Saturday to benefit the Cobblestone Society. The harpsichord was donated by a friend of Grabowski’s.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 May 2019 at 9:31 pm

Aaron Grabowski received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his organ program Saturday at St. Mary’s Church in Medina. With him in the organ loft are his son Paul, who was his page turner. Grabowski is in the process of rebuilding the church’s organ, which was installed in 1913.

MEDINA – A Progressive Organ Concert and Dinner Saturday night was a repeat of a very successful event last year, with the debut in Albion.

This time nearly 100 people supported the Cobblestone Society by attending this year’s concert at three historic churches in Medina.

Local organist and organ builder Aaron Grabowski of Medina was featured on Trinity Lutheran Church’s 1968 Holtcamp pipe organ, St. Mary’s Church’s French baroque organ and St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Hook and Hastings pipe organ.

At Trinity Lutheran Church, visitors enjoyed hors d’oeuvres on the lawn prior to the concert, then traveled to St. Mary’s Church, where the concert there was followed by dinner by Zambistro in the school hall. The last leg of the concert was St. John’s where the evening concluded with the organ concert and dessert.

Grabowski said each organ lent a different flavor to what they tried to do.

“This is a rare opportunity for an organist to pursue the dream of playing and building an organ that represents a perfect combination of sounds,” said Grabowski, who is the church organist at St. Mary’s and is about one-fourth of the way through rebuilding the organ.

He explained a lot of work goes into building a pipe organ, as they are not mass-produced, but put together piece by piece. He also described the near perfect acoustics in St. Mary’s Church, which often makes it seem like the sound lingers a little bit. The organ at St. Mary’s is the largest of the three churches with a 16-foot façade. When done, the organ will have 57 ranks and will “rattle the pews,” Grabowski said.

Also at St. Mary’s, Grabowski played a harpsichord which has been permanently loaned to the church.

Walt and Jeanne Martillotta of Albion sample the hors d’oeuvres at Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina, the first stop of the progressive organ tour to benefit the Cobblestone Society.

Grabowski’s son Paul was his father’s page-turner for the evening. Paul played in the Mustang Marching Band from the time he was in sixth grade, but unlike his father, does not want to pursue a musical career. He instead is planning to be a medical technician in the Army.

At the final stop on the organ tour, Grabowski said St. John’s Hook and Hastings organ is a really good church organ, producing a little sweeter sound. Their organ has two keyboards and two manuals and is about one-third of the size of St. Mary’s organ and half the size of the Lutheran Church’s.

Museum leading bus tour to cobblestone sites in Monroe, Wayne counties on May 18

Cobblestone Society director Doug Farley said he was pleased with the success of the evening, and hopes for similar success of a Cobblestone Trail Bus tour May 18 to Monroe and Wayne counties. The stops along the way will be at attractions housed in cobblestone structures.

Assistant director Sue Bonafini will pick up fruit bread from a bakery in Brockport called Grinds Café. The bread will be sliced and individually wrapped for passengers to enjoy during the bus ride.

Next, they will drive to Webster Baptist church, the largest cobblestone building in the United States still being used for its original  use since 1857.

After driving by Martin Harris farm in Palmyra to view the exterior of lake washed cobbles, a stop will be made at the Alling Coverlet Museum for a self-guided tour. The gift shop will be open.

Lunch will be at the Muddy Waters Café and Bistro overlooking the Erie Canal. After lunch, the tour continues at the Hoffman Clock Museum in the Newark Library. Curator Eric Hooker will share highlights of the collection of more than 300 watches, clocks and tools. The final stop before heading home will be at Starbucks in Victor, located in a repurposed cobblestone home built in the 1800s by Philip Bonesteel. It was rescued by Starbucks to prevent its destruction.

“It is my hope our group will not only enjoy learning some history about cobblestone structures outside of Orleans County, but find the stops at the museums to be equally educational and enjoyable,” Bonafini said.

The bus will leave the Cobblestone Museum at 9 a.m. and return about 4. Cost of the trip includes bus fare, lunch and admission to museums. Reservations must be made as soon as possible by calling 589-9013 or visiting the website at www.cobblestonemuseum.org.

Photo courtesy of Chris Busch: The crowd gives organist Aaron Grabowski a standing ovation at the conclusion of his program Saturday night at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Medina. With him is his son Paul, who served as the page turner. St. John’s was the final stop in the progressive organ concert to benefit the Cobblestone Society. The evening ended with dessert at the church.

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