Three historic Greenfield pipe organs, all more than 100 years old, will be showcased later this year during the Pipes of Christmas: A Historic Organ Walk, an event that will also feature a community choir.
The choir, directed by Heather Goddard, will have its first rehearsal at 5:30 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 30, at the Greenfield Presbyterian Church. The choir is open to anyone in, or from, the Greenfield area that is in the seventh grade or older, according to John Mitchell, who is in charge of publicity for the event. He said rehearsals will continue each Sunday, but it’s not mandatory to attend each one.
“The idea is to showcase the organs and draw attention to Greenfield,” Mitchell said. “Greenfield has a lot to offer as far as history and it has a sort of charm in a lot of its infrastructure, homes and buildings. We just want to give the community a little boost.”
The choir will be accompanied by David Pettit and will sing “The First Noel,” one other Christmas carol, and the McClain High School alma mater as arranged by Pettit.
Pettit no longer lives in Greenfield, but he is a 1971 graduate of McClain High School who as a teenager lived in the manse next to the Greenfield First United Methodist Church.
While attending McClain High School, Pettit studied piano with renowned teacher Wallace Fisher, and music theory and appreciation with Robert Anderson, who was the MHS choral director. He received a full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. During the 1990s, he studied in Paris and is an accomplished composer, organist, church musician and educator. Pettit’s career spans more than 35 years and he has performed throughout the United States mainline and Hawaii, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China and the West Indies.
The three historic pianos that will be featured in a Sunday, Dec. 11 concert are the 1903 Lyon and Healy organ at the First Presbyterian Church, the 1912 Estey organ at the First United Methodist Church and the 1915 Skinner organ at McClain High School.
The Moon Chimes from the First Presbyterian Church and the Cockerill Bells from the First United Methodist Church will also perform.
Tickets will be sold in two different colors dividing the ticket holders in half. One half will begin the tour at one church and the other half will start at the other church. After a 20- to 25-minute recital at each church, the ticket holders will switch churches. After that the whole group will converge on the McClain High School auditorium where the community choir will perform along with Pettit on the school’s pipe organ.
For more information or to join the choir, contact Susan Long at 937-981-4931, Goddard at 937-403-8011 or Dan McCray at 614-769-3120.
Tickets will be $5 each and will go on sale next month.
“It’s a non-profit event, but what we want to do is divide the proceeds three ways to start funds for maintenance on all three organs,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s going to be quite an event.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.