LEC to host 10th Anniversary Skinner Organ Concert funded by LCVB grant

Fine Arts,

Lake Erie College to host 10th Anniversary Skinner Organ Concert
Concert made possible by grant from Lake County Visitors Bureau Arts & Culture Fund

Nearly ten years ago, Lake Erie College undertook the massive project of restoring its magnificent 64-rank, six-division E.M. Skinner organ, Opus 647, using funds raised by a dedicated group of alumni and friends. Due in part to the generosity of alumna Carol Lewis Morris ’67, the organ is now known as the Carol Morris Skinner Organ. The organ is housed in the Helen Rockwell Morley Memorial Music Building, an acoustically pristine small concert hall of classic Greek design located on the College’s campus in Painesville.

Thanks to a grant from the Lake County Visitors Bureau (LCVB) Arts & Culture Fund, the Skinner organ will return to the limelight once again on Saturday, October 29, 2016, for a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of its restoration.

The concert will feature the musical stylings of renowned organist Todd Wilson, who also performed in the inaugural concert for the newly restored organ in 2006. Wilson is an American organist who heads the organ department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, serves as house organist at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio, and is the organ curator of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Skinner organ at Severance Hall.

The Skinner organ at Lake Erie College boasts a rich history. Ernest M. Skinner was the leading organ builder in the early decades of the 20th century in the United States. Originally installed in Morley Music Building in 1927, the Opus 647 organ is one of only 38 noteworthy E.M. Skinner organs still in existence nationwide. Skinner organs were among the most expensive of instruments and are associated with engineering, craftsmanship and ingenuity. They provide an orchestral sound unlike any other for a unique listening experience.

The arts at Lake Erie College have a long and storied past that the institution seeks to continue as a strong and prominent part of its future. The 10th anniversary organ concert at Lake Erie College signifies the importance of strengthening the arts at the College and will serve as the catalyst for an annual performing arts series set to begin in the spring of 2017. The hope is that these endeavors will engage the greater Painesville area through exposure and accessibility to the arts, solidifying LEC as a destination of choice for the performing arts and helping to boost tourism to Lake County.

The purpose of the LCVB Arts & Culture grant program is to attract more out-of-town visitors to spend tourism dollars in Lake County. Funding of this program comes from Bureau revenues, which come from a Lake County hotel/motel occupancy tax. Applicants to the fund are judged on the basis of the quality of the proposed project, the project’s value to tourism, and the quality of project management. LEC’s application received an impressive aggregate score, earning the College the full $7,000 requested.

“The funding of this event is an indication of the importance of the arts in Lake County and shows that the Skinner organ on LEC’s campus is a tremendous cultural asset to the community,” said Dr. Bryan DePoy, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lake Erie College. “The arts are a strong sign of a vibrant and healthy community, and Lake Erie College, as the only four-year college in the region, has an important role in positioning its resources to support economic vitality.”

More information regarding the program for the 10th anniversary Skinner organ concert and its start time will be made available closer to the event. Further questions may be directed to Pam Palermo, director of development, at ppalermo@lec.edu.

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