06 June 2007

Praise Him with string and pipe...

Ok, I just did something selfish. I took an hour and went to the organ loft to play that magnificent Casavant instrument. And the nave organ is now installed and connected, so not only does the sound soar from the gallery, but it also sings from half-way down the nave. What a thrill to hear the full sound of the Casavant, but then to make it “answer” itself with the distant pipes from the nave division. I haven’t enjoyed myself like that since my old days at Salisbury when I would play the marvelous Father Willis instrument which graces that gorgeous cathedral.

I started playing the organ when I was about twelve, back in the Methodist church where I grew up in Connecticut. We had a small Moeller pipe organ, and I can remember the wonder I felt when I was first allowed to play it. I was small for my age, and could scarcely reach the pedals. But I was hooked, and I’ve loved the pipe organ ever since.

I was pretty enterprising as a teenager, and as soon as I got my driver’s license I found “paying jobs” at the local Episcopal church and also at one of the Congregational churches. I can remember the mad dash on Sunday mornings as I juggled the various service times. Fortunately, it was a small town!

When I started college I was able to pay for my undergraduate degree by playing the organ and directing choirs, and even continued on through my seminary years. I’m happy to see some of our students at the Academy now studying the organ with Mr. Murray. I’ve told them that even if they don’t make it their life’s career, it sure is a great way to bring honor to God, pleasure to people, and maybe even make a little bit of an income along the way!