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Church to rededicate organ with recital, celebration Sunday

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- St. John's Episcopal Church with rededicate its Schlicker organ at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, after it was restored and enhanced by Peebles-Herzog, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio.

It will be rededicated in thanksgiving for the music ministry of the late Paul Balshaw, organist and choir director for nearly 35 years, before his death in 2005. Sunday's celebration includes a recital performed by Yuri McCoy, a 2008 graduate of Marshall University and a recent semifinalist in an international organ competition.

The organ's original design was created with Balshaw's influence and is considered an example of an instrument being designed to be enhanced by the acoustics of the space it inhabits. It took several years from the time it was designed until its installing and dedication, which took place on Sept. 16, 1973, and featured a recital by Paul Balshaw's father, Dr. Clifford Balshaw. This rededication will be one day shy of its 40th anniversary of providing music for the St. John's Congregation.

Paul Balshaw had been a Marshall professor since September 1965 and was the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1984 to 1995. He then returned to the music faculty, working with vocal students and teaching theory, analysis and the graduate music history sequence. He also was the coordinator of graduate studies and director of the Marshall University Orchestra and played viola with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra.

McCoy is currently a second year graduate student at the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas. He serves as director of music at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Angleton, Texas. In June 2013, McCoy performed as one of ten semifinalists competing in the inaugural Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition.

McCoy earned an undergraduate degree from Marshall and a master's degree in piano performance in 2010 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has studied and performed throughout the United States and Europe, including premiering a work at the Cortona Contemporary Music Festival (now the SOUNDSCAPE Music Festival) in Cortona, Italy. He has played violin in both the Huntington Symphony and the Marshall University Orchestra and has held several organ posts in and around Huntington, including St. John's Episcopal.

McCoy lives in Houston with his wife, Asuka.

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