The Road From Euclid Christian to Peakland United Methodist
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As I sit down to write this article, the old spiritual, “My Lord, What A Morning” is ringing loudly in my ears. Yes, we have a grand piano! But how did we get this piano?
Euclid Christian Church, on Memorial Avenue across from E. C. Glass High School, was founded over 100 years ago. It was a thriving church for a long while. Recently, though, the church has declined in attendance and support and has come to the unfortunate decision that they must close their doors. Although another congregation will be taking over the building, Euclid started making arrangements for its instruments and music library to go to good homes.
On a Wednesday afternoon, several months ago, I was sitting down to play for the Praying For Lynchburg Prayer Service at Park View when I got a text from our piano tuner, T. J. Matthews. T. J. and I go way back and he knew I had been dreaming about a grand piano for our sanctuary. The text he sent almost floored me. The Euclid congregation was going to discontinue and they were going to give, yes I said GIVE, their Baldwin Artist Series 6’ 3” grand piano away to a charity or church. T. J. put me in contact with the church secretary, Susan Ohmart. Susan and I have known each other for years, and her husband and I used to play in a big band together. The next day, Julie Young and I went over to talk with Susan and see the piano. It was then that I realized we had an incredible opportunity. Susan was the 4th generation of her family active in Euclid church, and her mother played the piano! If we could become the recipients of their instrument then we could carry on the tradition of great music with that piano.
So I drafted a letter to the church and waited. The letter was well received. Our church and congregation were known to them and they believed we could effectively carry on a music program that would be enhanced with their instrument. It was decided that they would keep the piano through the end of August.
It was on Sunday, August 28, that I went to visit Billie Gilmore. Billie gave the piano that’s in the sanctuary in memory of her husband, Richard “Dick” Gilmore. They were both music lovers and huge fans of our church. So I wanted to personally visit with her and tell her what was happening. Of course Billie was sad that the piano was being moved but when I told her it was going to the choir room and would be used not only for choir practice but also with the preschool kids music program, it brightened her spirits. We had a nice, long chat. At the end of our time together we prayed, and then we each shed a few tears. But I left with her blessing. Billie is a wonderful lady.
At 4:00 AM this morning I woke up. I could not go back to sleep so at 5:00 AM I got up hahaha! I picked up Emma at 8:30 and after a brief stop at Starbucks we headed over to Euclid Christian! Susan met us there and opened the doors to the sanctuary for the movers. The piano movers arrived and made quick work of preparing the piano for the move. Moving a grand is not that hard, as long as you know what you are doing, and these guys did!
Emma and I jumped in the car and followed the movers over to our church. Euclid church had never purchased a “truck” (3 wheel piano dolly) for the piano, but Pastor John suggested we do that to help us move the piano on our platform for various events that might take place. T. J. came by earlier and assembled it for us and then the movers from Perry Piano rolled our new piano up on the platform area.