Theatre organist to perform children’s classics for church picnic, parade

DEARBORN — Christ Episcopal Church will be turned into a magical setting from 2 to 4 p.m. May 14 as families are invited to attend a Musical Picnic and Parade.

The event is the second in a series of fundraisers for the church’s organ refurbishment project. Although phase one has been completed to restore and upgrade the console, the church is raising money for phase two which will re-leather and repair all wind chests, regulators and refurbish all of the 2,583 pipes of the church’s Casavant Frères Ltee, Opus 2643 organ.

Tickets for the Musical Picnic and Parade are $20 per child and are available at the church office. There is no charge for adults who attend with their children.

Christ Episcopal Church is at 120 N. Military.

The theme of the afternoon focuses on well-known children’s movies and characters. Children are encouraged to wear a costume of their choice as they gather to make crafts, enjoy a picnic, participate in a parade and listen to beloved movie tunes. And whether they choose to be a prince or princess, a super-hero or villain, or an animated personality, they should be excited to meet the special characters that drop in to surprise them and join them in the parade.

During the afternoon, both children and adults will be transported to familiar worlds as they listen to the music performed by Stephen Warner on the organ.

Warner is the musical director and organist at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church in Detroit. He also plays the organ at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.

During the era of silent movies, theater organs provided the sound track that escalated the mood, provided sound effects or a soothing backdrop to enhance the movie-goers experience. Besides the silent film performances at the theater, Warner performs concerts and overtures at the theater and at other venues.

He is a trained technician and works on restoration projects with the Holden Pipe Organ Co. in Ferndale. Warner graduated from University of Michigan in 2003 with degrees in Organ Performance and Mechanical Engineering.

Carolyn Blackmore with the Organ Refurbishment Committee said their efforts are broader then raising money to refurbish the church’s organ.

“We realize that live organ music is not often heard outside of church services,” Blackmore said. “We want to change that. Our first public musical event was a very successful organ and jazz soiree. We now want to introduce the magnificence of live organ music to a new audience: young children and their families. It will be a fun-filled afternoon.”

Besides the fundraising events, Christ Episcopal Church offers members of the community a chance to “Adopt-a-Pipe.” Through a tax deductible donation, pipes of various sizes, quantities, and materials can be adopted in the name of a loved one, a family or in honor of a special occasion.

Each donation will be recorded in the “Pipe Adoption Book” that will be kept at the church and as part of its history.

Further information about the event or pipe adoption, call 313-565-8450.