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03/06/2012

Anonymous Donor Contributes $50,000 to D.B. Memorial Organ Restoration Fund

Quick Facts

 David Lowry commented that this gift, completing the campaign’s efforts, places Winthrop’s instrument in the top echelon of American historic organs.
 Launched in 2005, the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Restoration Campaign raised funds to restore the organ, named for Winthrop’s founding president.

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - An anonymous donor has given $50,000 to the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Restoration Fund for the maintenance of the historic Æolian-Skinner organ in Byrnes Auditorium. This gift completes the organ restoration campaign’s total.

Launched in 2005, the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Restoration Campaign raised funds to restore the organ, named for Winthrop’s founding president. The D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ was sent to the Létourneau Organ Company in Quebec, Canada, in May 2007 for a complete restoration.

In 2009, the Department of Music and the Organ Restoration Campaign Committee hosted the D.B. Johnson Organ Festival, a series of workshops, lectures and concerts, to commemorate the organ’s successful restoration and return to campus. The festival featured 13 alumni organ majors who hold important musical positions across America: Richard Elliott, principal organist of the Salt Lake Tabernacle; David Lowry, professor emeritus of music and university organist since 1965; and Robert Ridgell, director of sacred music for the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn.

For the last 57 years, the organ has been heard in concert by many acclaimed organists from Europe and America.

Built and installed in 1955, the organ is widely considered to be one of the country's most significant historic instruments and was completed by G. Donald Harrison, then the head of the Æolian-Skinner Organ Company in Boston, Mass. The world-famous virtuoso Virgil Fox played the inaugural concert on the organ on Nov. 2, 1955.

Lowry commented that this gift, completing the campaign’s efforts, places Winthrop’s instrument in the top echelon of American historic organs.

To make a gift to Winthrop, contact the Office of Development at 803/323-2150.
 

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