With a song in its heart

What makes a dwelling a home is different for each family. For Jim and Marva Jackson some of the key characteristics are thei
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

What makes a dwelling a home is different for each family.

For Jim and Marva Jackson some of the key characteristics are their spirituality and love of music.

The Jacksons recently moved into a new home on Cold Creek Drive. When you walk in two things immediately grab your attention -- 12-14-foot ceilings giving the home an open feeling and music soaring through the air.

The home is hard wired throughout with a satellite stereo system with speakers in nearly every room -- including two on either side of the bed in the master suite. These are not the speakers of yesteryear doubling as plant stands or coffee tables. The flat speakers are inset into the walls with volume controls in many locations.

With this set-up, Marva is able to enjoy her passion for gospel music while going about her daily activities.

"I can go to sleep with nice, calm music and adjust the music to find the mood of the day." Marva said.

Jim has his own sound-proofed listening room, built specifically for the purpose of enjoying music. Simple chairs and complex stereo components allow Jim to lose himself in the rhythm of the moment. One of the prominent art pieces in this room is an abstract which is representative of hidden musicians. "Sound of Jazz," was purchased at O'heb Shalom Temple's silent auction.

JIm took just two days installing the home's audio wires. After his retirement from Delphi Automotive Jim had a business where this type of work was his specialty. It taught him not only to take precise measurements, but photos as well.

Turns out this was a good thing.

As he was preparing to install speakers, Marva expressed concern that perhaps he was a bit off.

Sure enough when Jim pulled out his pictures he was six inches off. This, however, seems to be one of the only glitches they had in building their home. Both agree the experience was excellent and quick. The broke ground in November and were living there by March.

The framers, roofers and finishing carpenters were Amish from Applewood, Ohio. "Since they don't drive themselves, a chauffeur brought them every day." Jim said.

The next phase of building is to finish the recording studio and karaoke room in the basement. As in their previous home, family and friends will gather to jam. But here they will have more room to make the joyous noise.

Jim realized Sandusky had some real talent. He has recorded two local gospel artists and more are in the works. "Music is a big part of our lives and having enough room was important," Marva said.

Their love of music had an impact on a small church in Shrewsbury, Ontario, originally a slave settlement founded in 1856. The Jacksons' summer home is there. With an aging congregation, the town's church was suffering a decline in membership. Its 15-member congregation ranges in age from 55-89. Though membership was small, heating prices were not. The church was facing closing its doors.

Jim and Marva called in a few favors. Their recording artists and other musicians drove three hours for a fundraiser they called Gospelfest. Each person who participated donated his or her time and even paid their own expenses to help out their friends.

The Jacksons made their goal.

Jim says, "Who would've guessed me recording gospel music would keep a little church in Shrewsbury open.

Not only did it do that, it kept history alive.

Marva said, "There are so many kinds of ministries. Music is our ministry."

Home is where the heart is. For Jim and Marva Jackson, gospel music is at the heart of both homes.