Estey Organ Museum hosts benefit concerts

At 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, July 28, internationally-known concert organist Joyce Jones will offer two concerts - the first for children and the second for adults - on the three-manual Estey Opus 300 pipe organ at First Baptist Church, 190 Main Street in Brattleboro.

Children of all ages are welcome at the 1:30 matinee.

According to a news release, Jones has dedicated her extraordinary professional life to making friends for her instrument and sharing her Christian faith through music. A musical prodigy, she enrolled in the University of Texas in Austin at age 16 to major in piano, learning the organ “by accident” in her freshman year while recovering from a hand injury.

By age 19, she had mastered pedal technique; received a bachelor's degree; won a national organ competition, and was teaching music. At age 20, she was awarded University of Texas's first master's degree in organ studies and became a music instructor at Texas Wesleyan University.

The holder of a Ph.D. in musical arts from the University of Texas and an M.A. in sacred-music composition from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jones retired in 2012 after serving for 43 years as the Joyce Oliver Bowden Professor of Music, Professor of Organ, and Organist-in-Residence at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

A fellow of the American Guild of Organists, Jones includes among her extensive performance credits the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; Notre Dame and Chartres Cathedrals; Riverside Church in Manhattan, and the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. With her performance this month in Brattleboro, she will have achieved a longtime goal of performing in each of the 50 states of the U.S.

Jones' near-lifelong association with the Estey organ dates back to her childhood in rural George West, Texas. In 1939, her mother's Sunday school class put on bake sales and plays to raise the $450 price of a one-manual Estey reed organ - the first in town.

Later, as a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Jones practiced on the Estey organ in the Presbyterian Church in Taylor, Texas, where her aunt was the organist.

Having read and heard about the Estey Opus 300 pipe organ at Brattleboro's First Baptist Church, Jones said she is delighted to have the opportunity to perform on this highly-regarded instrument.

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