Enterprise State Community College’s Fine Arts Division is now home to an organ, valued at approximately $60,000, that will be used to increase fine arts offerings and honor a former ESCC instructor.
The new Viscount Prestige I Digital Organ was donated in memory of longtime ESCC – then Enterprise State Junior College – English instructor Rex Everage. Everage retired after 30 years of teaching at the College. He was known as a lover of music and played the organ at the local Episcopal church for many years.
“I realized the importance of great music to Rex when one morning as I parked, Rex, who was never late to class, remained in his car, swaying slightly and nodding his head,” Dr. Becky Armstrong, a former colleague and friend of Everage’s, said. “When I tapped on his car window to remind him that he had only a few minutes before his eight o’clock class, he replied that he would join me after the magnificent Handel Concerto ended; then he smiled happily as he rolled up the window and continued his private concert.”
To honor Everage’s love of music and the organ, the donated instrument will be installed in the College’s Multipurpose Room located in the Lurleen B. Wallace Student Center where many Fine Arts Department performances and events are held.
“I want the Fine Arts Division at ESCC to be a place for students to train and a place for the community to gather for wonderful music,” David Deal, a supporter of the arts who has served on ESCC’s Lyceum Committee and as the vice-president for the Coffee County Arts Alliance, said. Deal donated the instrument in memory of Everage. “Rex loved the organ, and he would want more students learning to play the instrument.”
Using the new organ, the College’s Fine Arts Division has added Private Organ lessons to its curriculum. Three students are currently enrolled in the class.
“Future plans are to add a short-term certificate in church music,” ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair Dr. Ken Thomas said. “Many local churches contact us seeking qualified students to work with their music program. As the community’s college, it is important for us to offer programs that meet the needs of community and industry partners.”
According to Thomas, church organists in Alabama could earn a yearly salary of over $40,000, and the national yearly salary for a church organist is over $52,000.
Scholarships for all fine arts programs are still available. For questions about scholarships or for those interested in learning more about fine arts programs, contact Dr. Ken Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first public performance with the new organ will be Sunday, Aug. 8, at 3:30 p.m. during the Coffee County Arts Alliance’s “An Afternoon with Art and Music” event, which will be held from 2-4 p.m. in Forrester Hall. The public is invited to attend the event and the performance.
Cutline: David Deal, left, donated a new Viscount Prestige I Digital Organ to the ESCC Fine Arts Division in memory of Rex Everage. The instrument will be used during performances and to increase fine arts music offerings. Pictured, right, is ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair Dr. Ken Thomas.