Music Notes

Dear FUMC,

This week, I wanted to tell you about a new fund which the music ministry of your church is launching.  This will be totally separate from budgeted items and will simply depend on those who choose to give in honor or memory of others.  This fund will be the “Pipe Organ Upgrade Fund”.  Recently, we were told by our organ technicians that our beloved organ will need some extensive work within the next 7 to 10 years.  Instead of being hit with a huge bill all at one time, we felt it prudent to begin a fund which over time would build up the funds to pay for the work.

Now please don’t be alarmed.  Our organ is not on its last legs by any means.  There are simply parts in it that are showing wear and will eventually get to the point where they don’t operate.  There are all kinds of thingamajiggies and doodads that control the pipes that you hear.  The pipes themselves are fine.  In fact, there are over 800 of them behind the façade of gold pipes on the front.

I hate to burst any bubbles, but those front pipes are only for show.  Yes, prior to 1974 before the organ was rebuilt, they played.  But their job was replaced by the functioning pipes behind them.  There are no loud speakers in the organ.  What you hear is the sound made by each of the pipes.  I remember that once years ago, I was playing at a rather loud volume.  One worshiper came to me afterward and told me that I should not do that because I would break the organ.  Playing loudly doesn’t hurt the organ at all (no speakers or amplifiers).  You just choose to use many pipes at the same time.

Which brings me to the question; how does one play either loudly or softly?  Well, the organist chooses the pipes that play at that volume.  For instance, we don’t use the trumpets during communion.  Conversely, we don’t use soft strings to lead congregational singing.

Yep, the organ is pretty interesting and a lot of fun.  I’m not really sure what the current value of the organ is but I would guess that it is somewhere between $350,000 and $400,000.  Considering that when we had the instrument built, it cost in the neighborhood of $35,000, I believe that we made a great investment.

So now you see that we are establishing a fund to make sure that others can receive inspiration from this instrument for years to come.  See all of you on Sunday.

God bless,