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Paul Opel

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Paul Emerson Opel RUTLAND, VT Paul Emerson Opel, beloved husband of Jennifer Baker, passed from this life on March 1, 2012, surrounded by family in the home he lovingly restored. He was 55.Paul often said he'd been born too late for the job that would have made the best use of his gifts, the 14th century "Stadtpfeifer" or urban music director who usually served as night watchman who also provided the music for urban ceremonies and weddings. Regionally, he is well-known as an Organist who played guitar, clarinet, and harpsichord professionally in addition to most woodwinds and fretted strings. As a student at Bennington College, Paul earned degrees in both Music and Russian; his autodidactic skill allowed him to learn French, Spanish, Italian, and German, also some Portuguese and Catalan. Graduate studies in Library Science allowed him to return to Bennington College as its Music Librarian from 1988-1995. During this time in Bennington, he also became the Organist for both the Old First Church and First Baptist Church, in addition to managing the Sage City Orchestra. Paul became a resident of Rutland in 2000, at which time his fine craftsmanship in "restoration with upgrades" was allowed to flourish. Every square foot of his home was considered, planned and restored as were the gardens and grounds. Beginning in 2002, Paul came to Poultney's Green Mountain College as choir accompanist; during succeeding years there he also became an Adjunct Professor of Music and directed the Applied Music Program. He was also an Adjunct Professor of Music at Castleton State College. In the years between 2000-2007 Paul was a substitute Organist for most local churches; he became Organist for Poultney Methodist Church in 2007, later moving to the Federated Church of Arlington where he was able to continue his work until last fall. He was a member of both the Organ Historical Society and the American Guild of Organists of which he served as Dean of the Vermont State Chapter for several terms. This self-described "naturally euphoric" man traveled extensively world-wide, led a life of music, encyclopedic knowledge, humor and generosity of spirit; he consistently had the right answer, the best question and the wherewithal to find anything --except his glasses. In addition to his wife and soul mate, Jennifer, Paul is survived by his parents, Bill and Nina Opel of Eastham, MA; his twin sister, Suzanne Donner, her husband Stefan and their children, Aza, Kostya, Ilia and Anastasia of Berryville, VA; his sister Sasha Opel and her sons, Cary and Nicholas DeMello of Acton, MA. Paul became a father late in life through his loving acceptance of stepsons Cameron and Maxx Steinmetz both of Rutland, and Frank Deal of Providence, RI. Paul's adopted son, Timothy Nystul, resides in Oakland, CA. FUNERAL NOTICE: The Rev. Kathleen Clark of Federated Church of Arlington will officiate during a Celebration of Life Service held at Poultney Methodist Church, Poultney VT on Friday March 16th at 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Organ Historical Society http://www.organsociety.org/ or to the Visiting Nurse/Hospice Care center in your area.

Published in Bennington Banner on Mar. 5, 2012
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