Auditorium Podium Tells a Story

April 18, 2019 / Andrea Wenger
Jay Hartzler and podium

Jay Hartzler, music teacher and choir director from 1981 to 2015, built a podium for the new auditorium in 2005, which was part of a arts wing to the 1964 building.

He built the podium with wood from property owned by some of the school’s long-time founding families, including Laban Peachy, Jean Fisher ’65 and Homer Mumaw. It is built in the shape of the auditorium’s roof line and, from 2005 to 2019, featured an in-lay of the school’s then flame logo.

In 2019 the school updated its logo. Hartzler suggested reaching out to Steve Brydge ’79 for ideas on updating the podium logo design. Jay had made the original logo and Steve did the inlay. Steve and his wife Becky own and operate Brydgeworks, just north of Park View. They use a water jet to cut inlays and glass. Steve and Becky recommended stained glass for the update. The new logo on the podium is a quarter-inch stained glass inlay.

Steve Brydge is the great grandson of JB Smith, first president of Eastern Mennonite University (then, School). Steve’s grandmother Ruth Smith Brunk was in the first graduating class of the institution in 1921. Steve’s mother, Margaret “Peggy” Brunk Brydge, graduated in 1949. Steve graduated in 1979 and his children followed: Justin ’03, Matthew ’05, Rachael ’07 and Aaron ’08.

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  1. Les Helmuth on May 2, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Great story connecting the present with the past!

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