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Asbury dedicates recital hall in memory of longtime friend

By Evan Cook

evan.cook@jessaminejournal.com

Asbury University has gained a new feature in its newly dedicated Jameson Recital Hall in memory of a longtime friend of the university.

The hall was dedicated with a performance March 1, which included Dr. Donald Zent on the Fazioli piano and a chorale performance by the Student Vocal Ensemble, led by Dr. Vicki Bell.

In  2012, Edna Jameson, who was a pianist and music faculty member at Yuba College, gave her personal Fazioli grand piano to the university’s music department before her death.

In addition, the Jameson estate also donated a grand piano, and funding towards the renovation of the Akers Auditorium and the establishment of the Eda LaFaye Schlatter Jameson Endowed Scholarship.

In the newly renovated space, the university has created a more wheelchair-accessible environment, with wood-back seats with gray cushioning and spotlights and hardwood flooring onstage. The walls inside are painted Asbury’s own colors; purple with light and dark gray accenting.

The true feature is the Fazioli piano displayed on stage.

During the dedication ceremony, Dr. Mark Schell, class of 1987, recalled a story about Jameson and her beloved piano that sat in her home for many years.

“So, we went to dinner and we came back. We were sitting there around her piano,” Schell said in a prepared statement. “And she said, ‘Would you like to play my piano?’ and I said, ‘Yes, Mrs. Jameson.’ And we talked for a while and I never got to play the piano. She just could not bring herself to let anybody else play the piano. So, you can imagine my shock when she gave the piano to Asbury University so that not only I but so that students and faculty can play the piano.”

Jameson had no educational ties to the University, having not attended or taught at the school, but held plenty of personal ties with the faculty and students, and performed an annual piano concert for 25 years in the recital hall itself.

“God created us to be His instruments of love, of peace and joy. Music is one of the ways that we do this,” Asbury university President Sandra C. Gray said . “Eda Jameson’s love for the Lord, her love for Asbury University and her love for music make it possible for us to be here today.”

After the performances, a spoken dedication was led by Board of Trustees Chair Larry Brown and Commissioner Sue Miller  Swanson. Schell during his dedication speech, pointed out a sign hanging above the auditorium’s door that reads “Ad majorem dei gloriam.”

“It means ‘to the greater glory of God’ and we want everything that we do in our programs to reflect the greater glory of God,” Schell said in a prepared statement.