26 JANUARY 2024
Dear Concert Friends,
I must take this belated opportunity to thank the St. Colman Choir, the Washington High School Symphonic Choir, members of the orchestra and soloists for their magical performance of Mozart’s Missa Brevis in D, K.194 and the Sunrise Mass of Ola Gjeilo on November 12, 2023. It was a memorable occasion for performers and audience alike. Not only was musically exciting and the first collaboration of the St. Colman Choir with a local school group, it was the first time ANY of the performers (except for the concertmistress, Maureen Case) had ever performed either piece before. That alone would have made it a unique experience; the high level of performance made it even more so. Thanks to the Washington High School director, David Scott, for his willingness to add additional music to their already busy schedule.
Quite frankly, I was totally wrung out by the end of that performance (had pneumonia, but didn’t know it) and was unsure that there would be a second concert for the current (2023-2024) season. But I hadn’t counted on the surprise that was in store for us. In December, following our Annual Lessons and Carols for Advent program, I became aware of a piano that was being ‘made redundant’ (a proper British-ism that basically means ‘tossed’) by another church in the general area. Knowing the musician who had just retired from a life-long position at that church, I knew it would be good and, without even laying hands on it, said, “We’ll take it.” I had in mind that we might offer an inadequately small amount of money for it (not even sure I could raise the funds) because we could not really manage what it was truly worth, but thought – ‘give it a shot’. Now I will truncate the story a bit. Our initial offer was actually accepted, much to my complete shock. And then, what had started as a negotiated sale became an out-right gift! Yes, a gift! Now for some details: The instrument in question is a Yahama GC2, which is a 5’8″ grand (bigger than a ‘baby’, smaller than a ‘studio’) and it is only three years old; in other words, not really broken in yet. (My personal piano turned 100 this year!) The piano is simply the perfect size for the large room in our Parish Center. When it arrived, I was able to play it for the first time and my (good) judgement was confirmed. It is an absolutely gorgeous instrument with a sensitivity and responsiveness of touch rarely encountered in my experience. And it has had a major impact on my view for musical education at St. Colman.
Not only will it now permit an expansion of the kinds of concert experiences we can offer through our CONCERTS in a COUNTRY CHURCH series, but it will make possible a wide range of musical education that wouldn’t otherwise happen at all. It will be available to area piano teachers for recitals and such programs; it will serve as a basis for class piano lessons for new-learner adults; it will serve as a basis for a Suzuki method of teaching piano to young children; it will serve a variety of musical presentations and offerings yet unimagined. The acoustical advantages, limited seating and flexibility of the space are just perfect for this instrument. In other words, it is going to get used! We can thank Mrs. Linda Litter of Chillicothe for this generous and wonderful gift! I look forward to guiding its use for years to come.
So I am pleased to announce that the Second Concert of the 2023-2024 season of Concerts in a Country Church (yes, the Parish Center counts) will feature the new piano and will be on SUNDAY, APRIL 28, at 3:00 PM in The PARISH CENTER. The purpose of this program will be to introduce the new instrument to the parish and the community in general. Yours truly will do some playing and will be joined by Jeanne Rosendahl and Delma Rouleau in some duet performances as well. I promise you a delightful and interesting program.
AND – get this – this one is FREE. That’s right. No requested minimum; no tickets; first-come, first-served. Will we accept offerings? Of course we will, but the funds will go to a special account which has been set up to assure the good care and maintenance of the piano and the parish’s other musical instruments and to subsidize musical activities beyond our liturgical needs and the concert series.
I hope you are as pleased and excited about this additional presence for live, serious musical performance as we are and have not forgotten the regenerative effect it can for us all.
Looking forward to sharing with you further,
Craig Jaynes,Music Director
CONCERTS in a COUNTRY CHURCH
St. Colman Catholic Church
219 South North Street, Washington Court House, OH 43160