Music Notes, Sunday, March 10
The following space will offer to you announcements, invitations, and updates for you from the Musical Ministry of GSUMC.
If you have any questions about this information or if you would like to join with the choir during this very musical season,
please see Chancel Choir Director & Organist, Lucas Weiss or contact him at email@example.com.
Update on the Sanctuary Organ by Lucas Weiss, Organist
I have been familiar with the Gay Street Sanctuary Organ for many years, having played many funerals, the occasional wedding and other services. During those numerous visits to the console, I sadly noticed the gradual decline of a once impressive instrument of worship into what one would have to call a very expensive, maintenance challenge.
While the current organ has faithfully served for years in this space, it has also been kept “alive” for many more years than was thought possible by all who played it and by all who have worked to keep functioning, now partially at best.
You probably have noticed over the past year or so (or maybe longer) the occasional note holding on, the unsteadiness of the tone quality, the missing notes in some areas and even an occasional loud burst or the noise of the failing wind chests.
You might have even noticed that occasionally I have to move to the piano and simply turn off the organ because a cipher (Definition of Cipher: A defect in an organ resulting in the continuous sounding of a pipe, the key of which has not been depressed)
has appeared and there is no other way to make the sound stop. Issues are appearing regularly in rehearsal and worship.
I recently sat at the organ and literally pulled each stop, one at a time, and played every note – here is what I learned:
There are 58 speaking stops on the organ, 17 are fully functional, 41 have issues – some don’t play at all. This is the cold, hard truth about your long-serving instrument, which has unfortunately reached the end of its effectiveness to lead in worship. The GSUMC Sanctuary Organ is actually functioning at less than half of its original design capabilities.
I want to stress to you that I am a preservationist at heart, and would be the first one to save any significant part of the history of an organization, especially an instrument – but we are at a point where the replacement of the instrument is, without question, the most appropriate action for this worshipping community. As one who some have titled a Curator of Worship, I will not allow the challenges of this instrument to interrupt the worship of this congregation. Our time together on Sunday mornings is too essential to equipping one another for the work of Christ’s Church in the world – we need our focus for our weekly conversations with the Divine.
And so, I must thank all of you for your decision in the summer of 2018 on granting approval to the GSUMC Trustees for the purchase of the pipe organ of Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, Cincinnati. Built in 1957, Opus 1695 by Walter Holtkamp, Sr., this three manual, 54 rank organ was needing an overhaul and based on the direction of the music ministry of Christ Church, was found to no longer be the right instrument for that worshipping community. While the Holtkamp is in need of new wind chests, etc., the pipes and much of the other components are still in very good shape and in the hands of skilled organ builders and craftsmen, would allow this instrument to continue to lead the church’s song. The Muller Organ Company, our current organ servicers, has the instrument in storage and work has begun to determine the design of pipe chests, the layout of our current console and the specifications of voices that will sing from this newly configured gem of organs!
I have been asked to lead a task force to work with Muller and guide the congregation through the process of welcoming this new instrument. The task force members joining me are Sarah Jancura, Sherri Pembrook, Lee Rhoades, Jerry Bell and Doug Trowbridge. We have met with Muller and are moving ahead to get the project underway. Please watch this space each week for an update. Next week you will learn about the timeframe of this exciting project!