Singing for a new roof

Evans and Do­herty will kick off St. An­drew’s fundrais­ing cam­paign

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY JULIE COLLINS

In­ter­na­tional singing duo Evans and Do­herty will kick off a fundrais­ing cam­paign at St. An­drew’s Pres­by­te­rian Church with a spring concert.

Early in Novem­ber it was dis­cov­ered that the iconic build­ing, re­ferred to lo­cally as the “big blue church on the cor­ner,” had nu­mer­ous leaks in its roof, one over the price­less Casa­vant pipe or­gan.

“Our cus­to­di­ans were quick to act and luck­ily there wasn’t any dam­age to the or­gan, which is played dur­ing Sun­day ser­vice,” said Rita Johnston, chair of the stew­ard­ship com­mit­tee. “The pipe or­gan is re­ally im­por­tant to the con­gre­ga­tion. It is val­ued at around $500,000 and is some­thing we could never re­place.”

Vi­sion Con­tract­ing of Bras d’Or has been con­tracted to in­stall a metal roof. In the mean­time, there is a tem­po­rary patch over the dam­aged roof area.

Once they learned about the prob­lem, the con­gre­ga­tion quickly came to­gether to work out a game plan.

“When it hap­pened we all kicked into high gear — the con­gre­ga­tion, board and the ses­sion to deal with this. We’ve also held a cou­ple of meet­ings in the sanc­tu­ary fol­low­ing Sun­day ser­vice to keep the con­gre­ga­tion up­dated.

“We know we have to raise about $130,000 to pay for the roof and it is go­ing to take a lot of work. But we also know we need to do what­ever is nec­es­sary to keep our church doors open.”

The Evans and Do­herty concert is the first of a num­ber of events planned for the com­ing year that in­clude a ven­dors spring market in late April at the John J. Nu­gent Fire­men’s Cen­tre.

St. An­drew’s will also host the Cana­dian Celtic Choir concert in June and a Celtic Colours festival event in Oc­to­ber.

“It’s been a few years since Evans and Do­herty played at St. An­drew’s and the last time was a sell-out crowd,” said Johnston. “Peo­ple love this Ir­ish duo and come from all around to hear them play.”

On March 10, be­gin­ning at 7 p.m. in the church sanc­tu­ary, Evans and Do­herty will take a lively blend of tra­di­tional music and add a lib­eral sprin­kling of sto­ries and hu­mour to their per­for­mance.

“All you have to do is sit back and en­joy th­ese fine en­ter­tain­ers, hear all your old favourites plus a few new ones. It will surely leave your heart feel­ing glad and put a spring in your step.”

The or­gan is cov­ered with a tarp and all of the in­ner work­ings in the back in­clud­ing the reeds and bel­lows are cov­ered as well so there will be no dam­age in the event of fur­ther leaks or dur­ing the in­stal­la­tion of the new roof.

“Vi­sion Con­tract­ing … plans to get started as soon as weather per­mits,” she said. “Putting on a shin­gled roof would mean wait­ing un­til early sum­mer which wasn’t an op­tion. With the threat to the pipe or­gan, a metal roof was the only way to go.

“Rais­ing over $100,000 is cer­tainly go­ing to be a big challenge for such a small con­gre­ga­tion, which av­er­ages around 60 for Sun­day ser­vice. But, ev­ery­one wants to see this beau­ti­ful build­ing con­tinue to be a land­mark in the town of Syd­ney Mines.”

Stew­ard­ship com­mit­tee chair­man Rita Johnston and cus­to­dian Bill Mac­Don­ald of St. An­drew’s Pres­by­te­rian Church in Syd­ney Mines stand in front of the Casa­vant or­gan.

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