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Florida musician calls Huntington his home

Jul. 22, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

HUNTINGTON — A man who has never lived in Huntington but still calls it home filled Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church with music on Sunday afternoon.

Organist Jay Brooks, son of the Rev. Ron and Edna Brooks of Huntington, performed a concert as part of the church’s “Music at Johnson Memorial” series. He put his fingers and feet to work on the church’s newly renovated 1937 Moller organ by performing pieces such as Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in A Minor” and “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring,” as well as Amazing Grace (Fantasy Prelude) arranged by Charles Callahan and more.

Being the son of a preacher, Brooks grew up in several places but said he calls Huntington home because it’s where his parents settled. Ron Brooks is the former pastor of First United Methodist Church.

Jay Brooks, a graduate of the Cincinnati University Conservatory of Music and winner of national and regional competitions, now is director of music and organist at First United Methodist Church in Coral Gables, Fla., near Miami.

Coming to Huntington to perform and see family and friends “is really a vacation for me,” Brooks said.
Music lovers of all ages gathered at Johnson Memorial to hear him play the organ, which features 42 ranks of nearly 3,000 pipes with swell, great, choir and pedal divisions. It’s the finest organ he knows of in the Huntington area, Brooks said.

Having him perform was a real treat, said the Rev. Jack Lipphardt, pastor at the church.

“When we started refurbishing (the organ), we thought about planning some recitals,” he said, and he immediately called Brooks and set a date.

“We’re thrilled,” Lipphardt said. “Jay is a gifted musician. We’re really happy to have him with us.”