• John McDaniel, Midway Correspondent

Midway News - Personals and Comments

I was going to start out with another story this week until I picked up the big paper (Lexington Herald-Leader) and read an article about how the Kentucky Theatre was going to restore a large Wurlitzer organ and give it a home where it once resided. Midway had a very famous organ or, as it is called a Melodeon, that made national history. The melodeon I am writing about is somewhat smaller than the 20,000 pound organ that I read about in the paper, and appeared one Sunday in the Midway Christian Church. It was the first musical instrument in a service in any congregation associated with the Campbell-Stone reform movement. The Campbell-Stone religious reform split into two factions, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Church of Christ. One of the issues that separate the two congregations is that the Disciples allow musical instruments at the services to support the church choir. The Church of Christ doesn’t allow musical accompaniment and the choir sings a cappella. The chief founder of Midway College, now Midway University, Dr. Lewis L. Pinkerton, also the church founder and pastor, believed that Instrumental music could be a joyous means of expressing faith as well as a means to improve congregational singing. Dr. Pinkerton once informed his congregation about the upcoming new addition to the church (the melodeon) that something had to be done; their singing was so bad that even the rats were fleeing the church. There were those in the church who believed the melodeon was an instrument of the devil and it divided the church. In the 1860s a man by the name of Adam Hibler, an elder of the church, decided that he would take it upon himself to rid the church of this evil instrument. He and his servant, Ruben, passed the melodeon through the window, never to be played in the church again. The fate of the instrument was unknown until the early 1900s, when it was discovered in a home at Nugent’s Crossroads (where the Midway-Versailles Road crosses Old Frankfort Pike). The college officials were satisfied that this was the instrument that began the uproar. A local entrepreneur and friend of the college, James Ware Parrish II, son of Thompson Parrish, was captivated by the “instrument of Satan” and its historical significance. He donated the necessary funds for the purchase of the melodeon so that it might be housed at the college, now the university. The melodeon is on display at the university library. If you have seen the melodeon at the university, give yourself 10 Midwegian points and add another 10 Midwegian points if you knew where Nugent’s Crossroads was or 5 Midwegian points if you have ever heard of Nugent’s Crossroad. ••• On an average day, it has been reported that 10,000 humans are born and 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. While this is going on every day, there seems to be a Midwegian making the headlines at least once a week and that not bad at all considering Midway’s population is only 1,620 residents. It seems there were two Midwegians in the news this week. Midwegian Sue Roberts has been named associate provost for internationalization at the University of Kentucky. Roberts will maintain her role as professor of geography, a position she has held since 1991. In her more than 15 years at UK, Roberts has served in a number of roles including director of the International Studies Program and associate dean for internationalization in the College of Arts and Sciences. Roberts’s research emphasis lies in political and economic geography. She has authored many papers in top peer-reviewed journals, has co-edited three books and has also co-authored a textbook in economic geography. She is currently co-editor of the journal Progress in Human Geography (ranked #2 in the discipline). Her research has led her to receive funding from the National Science Foundation and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Turku in Finland. Roberts will replace Susan Carvalho, who recently assumed the position of dean of the Graduate School and associate provost at the University of Alabama. Roberts will begin her role as associate provost July 18. Another Midwegian is beginning to make her mark in the music world. Last week, Willa Michel participated in the fifth annual Twin Lakes National Fiddler Festival that works in conjunction with the Leitchfield Freedom and Fiddling Festival. They have six categories of competition in fiddling, as well as three of dancing, bluegrass band, guitar, mandolin and banjo. There were 113 contestants in this year’s event. The festival takes place in Leitchfield. Michel took six place in the Junior Junior Fiddling Division. If you will remember, Woodford County had a champion fiddler in the ’60s and ’70s who played with the likes of John Conlee, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Del Reeves, and many others. He also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. His name was Joe Martin Weber, aka “Fiddling Joe Webber. I was fortunate enough to have played with him on many occasions. ••• I was riding around town last Saturday morning after attending the Saturday morning meeting of the village elders at the Midway School Bakery and made a pass through Tin Cup Alley and happened to look up at the Railroad Street court yard area. There were over a dozen people in the yard going through their yoga exercises. The court yard really creates an environment for inner peace. I even felt better after watching them for a few minutes. I would love to participate myself, but my body just doesn’t bend all that well any more. If you are one of those who bend or want to bend once again, classes begin at 9:30 Saturday morning. ••• “Mammaw, did you know that light travels faster than sound?” My Irish grandmother didn’t even look up when I told her what I had learned that day in school. “Johnny Boy, that is why some people appear to be very bright until you hear them speak.” Message from the Mayor By Grayson Vandegrift It doesn’t take a sociologist to figure out that the national mood is pretty low right now, and understandably so. There’s been a lot of horrific news lately, and images are seared into our brains more easily than ever due to the billions of cell phones floating around. It doesn’t help that in a presidential election year the two major party candidates aren’t inspiring a large portion of the electorate, and sensationalistic journalism sells better than sober, balanced reporting. But, as I’ve mentioned before, a trip through the history books tells me that although our problems are very real and they need real solutions, having many frightening and complicated problems is not at all unprecedented. In fact, Americans arguing bitterly about how to fix their problems is also not at all unprecedented. So my advice, for what it’s worth, is to keep on keepin’ on. And while you’re at it, rent a good book from the local library – hey, we’ve got a great one right here. Take a walking trail through a beautiful park – why, we happen to have a superb one that folks have been improving lately. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to a wonderful dinner, check out some cool shops, and dance to a band that brings on the fun. Why, whaddaya know, the second installment of Midsummer Nights in Midway is downtown this Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., with local favorite Superfecta playing at 7. Boy, isn’t that just what the doctor ordered.

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