Our Ministries
22 Jan

Organ Update – January 2018

Some information about a new organ in our church.

History

In 2011 we added an organ to our church sanctuary. This organ had resided at Oblate School of Theology Chapel for many years. At that time it was being replaced there with a larger instrument. This older instrument, a 1984 model, found a new home in our sanctuary. Despite its age, it served us well for six years. Having it available to us gave us more musical options, allowing us to see what an instrument such as this could add to our worship experience. In addition, it has been available for weddings, funerals, and other occasions.

Unfortunately, over the last year, the electronics in this aging instrument began to give out. With several attempts to repair it, it became apparent that mending this older technology was not going to be a long term solution. For much of this past year it has been out of service and unused. We realized the necessity to look for a replacement.

Possibilities

As wonderful as it would be to have a real pipe organ, that is not a practical solution for our parish at this time. Pipe organs are tremendously expensive, both in initial cost—even among used instruments—and continuing costs, requiring regular tuning and maintenance. Beyond that, pipes take up a great deal of space. Our sanctuary was not designed to accommodate such an instrument. We could make a small one fit, but it would require some major renovation to the space, and its sounds would be limited due to its size.

We have found a wonderful solution. At a fraction of the cost of a comparable pipe organ, as well as fitting into the same space where the current electronic organ resides, we will be installing a new digital organ. There are many advantages to this instrument including a much improved sound over the older electronic organ, much more versatility than a small pipe organ, and being virtually maintenance free. We are excited to bring this instrument into our worship.

For Our Community

You may not hear this new organ every week at our parish. It takes time to work an organ into our worship. Even so, we are not going to drastically change the style and timbre of music at our weekend liturgies. We hope to gradually expand our style to tastefully include this instrument. The organ has been, and remains, a mainstay in the Catholic Church. Our Catholic parish should have this available to us for Sunday worship as well as for special occasions such as weddings and funerals.

Many Church documents reference the organ as the “king of instruments” and state that it be given “pride of place” in our Catholic worship. This quote from the liturgical document “Sing to the Lord” sums up the long standing and universal role of the organ as seen by our Church.

Among all other instruments which are suitable for divine worship, the organ is “accorded pride of place” because of its capacity to sustain the singing of a large gathered assembly, due to both its size and its ability to give “resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation.” Likewise, “the manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.” Sing to the Lord (2007)

The new organ is being installed this February. We look forward to hearing it and singing along with it this coming Easter season and beyond.

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