The History of St. Paul's Akron (continued)

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After the property site was given by the Firestone family as a gift to the parish, the present church at West Market and Kenilworth was built. Clewell made a careful study of church organs and organ builders. Upon his recommendation and with help from Lola Boyd Evans, his organist since 1936, the M6ller organ was purchased and installed in the new church. The Mbiler organ contains over 4522 pipes distributed through 72 ranks and ranging in size from soda straws to pipes 32 feet long. The Tuba Heroique case is located behind the reredos.

Clewell also requested and received a choir practice room built as an amphitheatre to enable the director to see the choristers and they him.

The present St. Paul's Episcopal Church was completed and consecrated on November 25, 1952, since it was free of debt. The first oratorio presented in the new church was "Ode to St. Cecilia's Day" by G.F. Handel. The Men and Boys Choir, accompanied by the new organ and an orchestra, sang gloriously. Carillon chimes were later donated to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Graves in 1955.

After Clewell retired from Western Reserve Academy in 1957, he devoted his full services to St. Paul's Church. He wanted to develop a school for choristers on a country day school basis. He did develop an Introductory Notation and Terminology Course and an Elementary Theory Class for eight year old boys. By 1962, the following texts were available: Elementary Notation & Terminology, Relative Time Values, Advanced Time Problems & Elementary Conducting. and Advanced Notation & Elementary Keyboard-piano. When Cellule retired as choirmaster in 1967, the Men and Boys Choir had grown to about 70 members with 30 boys (8-12 yrs. old), 15-20 altos (12-16 yrs. old), and 20-30 tenors and basses.

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Choir Boys 1968

In 1958, the Firestones again contributed to the church and the music of St. Paul's. The Firestone brothers built the Idabelle Firestone Memorial Chapel in memory of their mother. The Acolian Firestone family organ from the music room at Harbel Manor was redesigned and rebuilt by Dr. Homer Blanchard and installed in the chapel by the consecration date in April 1958. The organ consists of a three manual console, with 41 ranks of pipes behind an ornate, carved wooden grill, and is reputed to be the finest in the country for its size.

Robert M. Quade succeeded Clewell in 1967 as choirmaster and organist. He had studied organ with Paul Calloway, choirmaster at the Washington Cathedral, earned his Master of Sacred Music degree at Union Theological Seminary, started a Men and Boys Choir at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California, and served as Choirmaster and Organist at Christ Church in Lexington, Kentucky before coming to St. Paul's. St. Paul's Men and Boys Choir has become nationally and internationally known under his tutelage.

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Robert M. Quade
Choirmaster and Organist

Through Quade's efforts, the Men and Boys Choir of St. Paul's became affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music in London, England. Six hundred American choirs are members of the RSCM, which teaches courses in music and Christian education. Quade's first tour with the choir was in 1968 when they spent a week-end residency at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York and sang the evensong service at the Washington Cathedral. Recordings (LP 33) were made following this tour. Early recordings included: "Missa in Tempore Belli" by Hadyn, "Stabat Mater" by Rossini, "Ode on St. Cecilia's Day" by Handel.

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Copyright 2001 Larry Ford All rights reserved
This page was last modified on 15 September 2002