Singing for a new roof
Evans and Doherty will kick off St. Andrew’s fundraising campaign
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.