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Man instrumental in church's new addition

June 07, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Though not a musician, Jim Stojak counts himself an appreciator who knows quality when he hears it.

So as a music lover, he was delighted to chair the St. Ann's Catholic Church committee charged with replacing the electronic organ with a pipe organ.

"St. Ann's has never had a pipe organ," Stojak said.

If that weren't enough, Stojak and his committee also had to oversee the construction of a new balcony in the church - just to house the new organ and choir loft.

Standing on the balcony at the back of the sanctuary at 1525 Oak Hill Ave., Stojak came to hear the final stages of tuning for the Schantz organ.

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"Everyone is very excited about the new organ," Stojak said.

Kerry Bunn, tonal finisher/service technician, and his assistant, Mike Zwick, work for Schantz Organ Co. in Orrsville, Ohio.

After the installation was completed, Bunn and Zwick began tuning each individual pipe.

"The actual installation took a week," Stojak said. The tuning took just over two weeks.

That was nothing compared with the entire project, which Stojak said was six years in the making.

"It took two years for the manufacturer just to fill the order," he said, noting the large backlog of orders for Schantz organs.

A monetary gift for a pipe organ, pledged about five years ago by Charles and Phyllis Groh, set the fundraising in motion.

"My wife, Darlene, and I donated the loft," Stojak said.

That loft was fashioned above the existing vestibule at the front doors of the church, extending out over the last few rows of pews to the rear of the sanctuary.

The pipes are enclosed on either side of the loft, with the organist facing a two-tiered choir area that faces the altar.

More than $2 million was raised for the organ/loft as well as a parish center addition that has housed church offices since May 26.

Stojak retired as president of Citicorp, but he is hardly idle.

"I do a lot of volunteer work," Stojak said, noting he and his wife often partner in these activities. "I finally have the time to give back what I couldn't when I was working."

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Stojak originally studied to be a priest but instead entered the world of business. He and his wife have three children and three grandchildren.

He has been a member of St. Ann's since 1988.

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