North Texas Daily

Saving a church with a spooky Halloween concert

Saving a church with a spooky Halloween concert

Saving a church with a spooky Halloween concert
October 31
11:03 2019

Before entering the Central Christian Church in Pilot Point, the sound of a Victorian piano is audible from the outside. Inside the building is a large group of people sitting in the pews surrounding the piano. Almost all of the people in the crowd are wearing costumes for this Victorian Piano Festival, also known as the Halloween Concert.

The Victorian Piano Festival starts with concert organizer Marie-Pierre Ware turning off the lights and pounding on the walls. Then her husband, pianist and Pilot Point homeowner Francis Vidil, starts to play on the piano and at the end of each song he rises from his chair to introduce a new song. Other times, the song is introduced by something Ware does to frighten the crowd.

“Mommy, where are you? Daddy, where are you?” Ware said. “Mommy, where are you hiding?” As she says this, she is rattling a bucket to create a wind sound and is talking like a little child.

Vidil said that he and Jay Middleton, a friend of Vidil’s and an event organizer for the church, created this Victorian Piano Festival because they wanted to incorporate Halloween into a classical music event to help save the church.

“Save from what, I do not know, maybe destruction, we are very scared about it,” Vidil said.

Vidil currently lives in Versailles, France. He was born there and is a church organist in France. He said the home he owns in Pilot Point happens to be across the street from Central Christian Church. Vidil specializes in the piano and pipe organ, and he also said he travels around the world doing shows, but he continues to come back to visit Pilot Point. He said  he would be sad if Central Christian Church could not be saved, and the church community is also concerned because nobody knows what will happen to it. He said it could either be taken away or torn down.

“I would like to contribute to save this spiritual sanctuary here,” Vidil said.

The inside of the building has paint chipped, the windows are not intact with the building and bugs climb along the walls. The church was built in the 19th century and a few years back, the church experienced hail damage. The building is closed now and no longer holds mass, so the funds from this Victorian Piano Festival are being used to help preserve the church.

“Most people here from Pilot Point never came in here,” Vidil said. “This is the first time for a lot of them.”

In Europe, Vidil said that they are conservative with their money, but here in the United States, “money vanishes.” Vidil said that the lack of funds for the building makes him want to take initiative and help raise money to rebuild the church.

“If I do not do that, I am lost,” Vidil said.

Vidil said the spirit of Pilot Point is Victorian, dating back to the town’s history. The church’s high ceilings and pew setup, he said, create perfect acoustics for the piano. Despite the damage from the hailstorm, Vidil does not believe the church is too far gone to be saved.

“If we can save the inside, we can save the outside,” Vidil said.

Courtney Nagore is a Pilot Point resident who attended the Victorian Piano Festival.

“This was my first time coming here this year and I was pleasantly surprised about how much I loved [the concert],” Nagore said. “This really showcases the arts here in Pilot Point.” 

Pilot Point resident Elizabeth Jones said she hopes there are more musical events held in Pilot Point. She also said that she hopes residents realize that there are many talented people in Pilot Point and she wants those people to be showcased more at other events. Jones said this concert represents growth and she said she hopes the arts scene in Pilot Point continues to grow. 

“We came the first year he did it and it was wonderful so were hooked,” Jones said. “We want to support what he is doing, we want to support the town and we want to support the church.”

Once the concert was over, Vidil took pictures with the people who attended the concert. Ware went up to people in the crowd, greeting them as if they were old friends.

“I love the public here, they have become friends now,” Vidil said.

Vidil said he is passionate about keeping the church alive and that he will continue to put on these concerts to raise the money for the church.

“I do not know what it will become, but it is very important that we keep the building as it is,” Vidil said.

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Julia Lopez

Julia Lopez

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