Many parishioners have approached me and other musicians in the parish to discuss the decision to install a true pipe organ, which is great! I love that you are comfortable enough to come forward and ask questions, and everyone is more than welcome to stop me and have their questions addressed. Here are some of the most asked questions that I personally have received…
Would the pipe organ be used…? Yes, it would. Currently, the organ is played at 4:15, 10:00, and 12:00 Mass each and every week. That is more than half of the weekend Masses we offer at St. John. It is also used at many funerals and weddings during the week. It is safe to say that the organ is the most used instrument in our church. Because of that, it would make sense to make sure we don’t have just any organ, but the best organ for our needs, one that will last us for hundreds of years and that will give the appropriate glory to God each and every time it is played.
Would we have to buy a new one again any time in the foreseeable future…? No, as long as the installation is done properly and it is properly maintained, a true pipe organ lasts for many lifetimes. Pipes are made of a mixture of tin and lead, and some are made of wood. The pipes will never go bad with proper upkeep. There are leather air valves that the pipes sit on top of, which control when and for how long the pipe speaks. These leather valves need replacing every 75 to 100 years. Yearly maintenance would generally mean having the organ tuned twice a year. When an instrument is used as much as the organ is in our church is, it is important to have one that will last a long time without needing extensive work.
What will happen when our organists retire/move on? Will we be able to find anyone to play it…? In general, yes. But it is important to note that a true pipe organ will attract high caliber organists and musicians. As an organ performance major myself, I can tell you first hand that if offered a job at two different churches, one with a pipe organ and one with a digital organ, I would choose the pipe organ every time, even if the pay is less. Once we have a true pipe organ, we can expand our music program to include events such as organ concerts, sacred music concerts, hymn festivals, and even organ accompanied silent films! Those who went and saw Ben Hur at Our Lady of Fatima know what an awesome experience this is.
How can we find our more and ask questions…? On Thursday, August 11th, at 6 p.m., the Organ Committee will be offering an open forum meeting in the parish center. All are welcome to attend and ask any questions you may have about the project. All concerns will be discussed. We will also be accepting donations at that time for those who feel so inclined. For those who can’t make the open forum meeting but want to have their questions addressed, please don’t hesitate to email or call me any time.
I am very excited about this project, and look forward to talking to you soon.
Choir Director and Organist,
Chair of the Organ Committee.