Good Afternoon to all of you. I am John Schwaller, president here at SUNY Potsdam. I have been asked to make a few comments regarding this event, the Inaugural of the Toland Trombone Stops of the Helen M. Hosmer Organ. As I was thinking about it for the last few days, and certainly while I was here in the audience hearing this wonderful music with you all, the phrase that came to my mind was “Manifold Blessings” and I mean that slightly with a pun intended.
This organ, which is a box of wood, has electronics in it, and has a tiny cable coming out of the back of it, also has these beautiful pipes that you see arrayed before you and many more that you do not see, also made of wood and metal. It is just an object; it has nothing in and of itself. It is the “Manifold Blessings” that it allows others to express that make it live in our lives.
The “Manifold Blessings” of an organist and artist, Sondra Goldsmith Proctor, who is able to take the notes that someone has composed and give them life through her skill in playing the organ. It is the blessing for all of us of talented people, such as our faculty, a gifted artist himself, Art Frackenpohl, who in a few moments we will be hearing his music played on this organ.
It is also the love and dedication of individuals to this institution that provide one of those “Manifold Blessings” to us and to the institution. An example of this is Judith and John Ranlett who so faithfully headed up the fundraising effort to refurbish the Hosmer organ. In particular, I want to thank Ray Toland, for his love and devotion to the School and to the organ, for having to help make this possible to us. And lastly, also to Laura Toland. These Trombone Stops are in recognition of your dedication of your skill, your love, and your passion in all of the wonderful things that you have done here in the community and in the larger world to make the place more beautiful. You have graced us all with the eloquence of fine music.
On behalf of SUNY Potsdam, I would like to thank you, and Ray, and Art, and Sondra, and the organ itself for having brought so many “Manifold Blessings” here to this orchestra hall. Also on behalf of the State University of New York at Potsdam and The Crane School of Music, I both accept these Trombone Stops and dedicate them to fine music here at Potsdam. Thank you all very much.