The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 13, 2014

Lakeside’s pipe organ makes its debut to public

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Nationally renowned concert organist R. Jelani Eddington initiated Lakeside’s Kimball Theater Organ on Saturday afternoon in front of more than 250 people.

It has been almost a year since Bud Hill, project coordinator, met with organ builder Vic Marsilio to find a pipe organ to be used at Lakeside High School.

Marsilio, an organ builder from Austintown, connected Hill with Gary Rickert in Illinois and the two eventually went to Illinois to check out the organ.

The organ was eventually donated to Lakeside High School by Rickert and the Ashtabula Area City Schools allocated $40,000 for the restoration, transport and repair of the organ. Another $60,000 was raised locally to complete the project, according to school officials.

“It’s been wonderful. The people here have been really supportive,” Marsilio said of the students, maintenance and staff of Lakeside High School.

The organ was delivered last July and the re-building process has continued for the last eight months, Marsilio said.

Marsilio said he has spent an average of three days a week working on the organ, but that had escalated recently. “The last month. (I’ve been working) every day,” he said.

“It has been a tough, long project,” Hill said during opening remarks to the crowd gathered to hear Eddington work his magic.

A Friday afternoon Lakeside High School assembly included more than 900 students who may have been a bit surprised about the assembly, said Lakeside High School Choral Music Director Andrea Tredent.

“I don’t think they (the students) were sure exactly what to expect. They were not expecting to enjoy it and they did,” Tredent said.

Eddington played a variety of musical styles including an accompaniment to a traditional silent movie.

“I’d like to take you on a bit of a musical journey through the instrument,” Eddington said.

Joe Tredent, band and orchestra director at Lakeside High School, said the organ will be great for performances at the school. “There are more musical pieces written for the organ and orchestra,” he said.

Andrea Tredent said she will let her two piano classes experience playing the organ.

Marsilio credited Hill for his passionate work to make the project a reality. He said Hill would arrive before he did and stay much later during the last several months of the rebuilding process.

Hill said the Lakeside High School theater was built with local bond issue money and can now be used for many performances.

“In the fall we hope to do a Ken Medema concert,” Hill said.

Tim Watts, an Ashtabula area piano tuner, worked on a piano that can be played through the organ. “You can also play it as a stand alone piano,” he said.

A luncheon was held to thank the people who donated time, money and effort to the project. “I would like to thank all of you who helped us so much,” Hill said.

Andrea Tredent said all of the students participating in the high school musical were able to watch the organ be rebuilt over the last several months.

“They had an opportunity to see how much work it actually took,” she said.

“Endless possibilities,” said Joe Tredent of the unique gift of the organ to the school experience.

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