Evening of Jazz Feb. 27 part of Christ Church, Dearborn organ project

IMG_4741As part of its ongoing Organ Refurbishment Project at Christ Church, Dearborn, the church will hold an Evening of Jazz and Organ fundraiser from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.

The candlelit sanctuary will host the event, which includes a $15 admission price. This includes light refreshments and a free hand-decorated champagne glass for the first 40 tickets sold. Childcare will be available by request; for reservations, call Christ Church at (313) 565-8450.

According to Sean Jackman, the church’s director of music and organist, the project (ORP) began with four builders visiting Christ Church and assessing the 1962 Casavant. The church vestry chose the Fowler Organ Company (Lansing) to complete the project. In the first phase of the project, the organ console was removed in June 2015, shipped offsite for improvements – which included electronic upgrades and a rebuild of the console – and returned last October.

Sean Jackman

The church’s Music Fund covered the first phase of the project. The second part of the project –  removing/cleaning repairing the pipes and re-leathering – still needs additional funding.  A $10,000 grant from the Tretheway-Downs Fund from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, which supports large-scale improvement of church properties within the diocese, gave Christ Church a great head start.

An innovative  “Adopt a Pipe” program began in November, with Jackman and Carolyn Blackmore (a member of the ORP committee) giving an overview how the organ’s inner-working and encouraging church members to invest in the project.

The goal is to have the project completed sometime in 2017 to coincide with the church’s 150th anniversary.

As part of Christ Church’s efforts to show the value and versatility of the Casavant organ, the ORP has offered ‘The 40 Best Loved Organ Pieces.’ It exposes program participants to pieces representing music from different historical periods and from several different countries.

“I have enjoyed sharing some the more complicated pieces of the organ repertoire now that our Casavant has several new sounds (called electronic extensions) and many more programmable presets (called general pistons),” Jackman said.  “The electronic extensions are both 32-foot pedal stops.  With our previous technology, there were four programmable general pistons.  We now have over 1,200 pistons and a sequencer.”