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Whitestone church turns to ‘Nosferatu’ for the sake of organ pipes

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Churches and vampires seldom work together. But a Whitestone church will be taking a page out of The Book of Vampires to resurrect a century-old presence.

The Rev. Brian Blayer and music director Nick Myers want to raise money to fix the Grace Episcopal Church’s organ with a showing of the 1922 silent movie “Nosferatu” on Halloween night.

“I really like the film,” said Myers, who made the selection.  He explained that it worked well for October and it was “very Halloweeny.”

The organ itself is older than the movie and the pipe system dates back to 1903. The 1,000 organ pipes are both a blessing and a curse, according to Blayer, and many of the pipes are showing their age.

“We’re getting it to play as best we can but a lot of the pipes are bent,” he said. “Everything we’ve done has been like putting bubble gum and tape on it but now we need a major overhaul.”

Myers, who has been with the church for three years and will be playing a live soundtrack to the movie with the organ, said he’s tried to make as many repairs himself but the major problems require a professional job.

"Nosferatu" screen capture via Wikimedia Commons
“Nosferatu” screen capture via Wikimedia Commons

The estimate to fix everything comes out to $150,000 but Myers isn’t looking to raise that much money just yet. His immediate goal is to raise $30,000 for the more important repairs. After that, they plan on raising the money incrementally.

“There’s been no love to this organ for 60 years and so it’s going to take a while to get everything fixed but it will happen over time,” he said. “ We want to preserve the history of Grace and do it right so that it lasts another 100 years.

Myers wants to hold viewings of old movies regularly and begin to develop the organ’s capability, so it can be part of music festivals that the church holds.

“We want to build up the arts in Whitestone,” Myers said, “and it starts with this organ.”

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