I have written previously about the precarious state of our Great Organ. The deterioration continues and we are now faced with the prospect of having to spend money over the summer to maintain it further until we can raise sufficient funds to start building the new Dobson organ.
Musical instruments are a means of grace. They are media of inspiration, and as such are valuable and important in all times and all places. Certainly they are this in the sacred time and space of worship, when God’s people make melody with their hearts and voices to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
The human voice is the incarnate expression of the soul’s desire to make music. The bowed string, the blown horn or flute, the tickled ivory, are all but extensions of the human desire to bring the music we hear in our mind’s ear to life. A pipe organ is the greatest of all instruments in its capacity to move an entire congregation to sing and fill them with a sense of awe and wonder. Only a symphony orchestra can compete with the organ in terms of power, range and majesty of sound, but the organ is the instrument, above all others, which has its rightful place in church, representing so well the many centuries of ecclesiastical music created by the greatest composers of the Western musical tradition. While a truly great choir is as fine a reflection of heavenly music as there is – what better to accompany them, and a congregation of hundreds? Only the finest pipe organ will do.
Saint Thomas is a church committed to the highest aesthetic ideals in worship, through its liturgy, preaching and music. Our beautiful space demands this from all of us. This is part of who we are – a church community wherein the sacred music of many centuries is cherished, nurtured and offered up. It inspires us, informs our sense of holiness and feeds us spiritual nourishment.
We are called, I believe, to make this offering in music not only for ourselves, but also for those who come here seeking to meet God within our own tradition. At the core of our music program, our new Dobson organ will be an instrument of the highest standards of craftsmanship with a refined, yet rousing and authoritative voice. It will provide all those colors and nuances for choral accompaniment that we lack so greatly in the current instrument as well as being a thrilling recital instrument.
Cram and Goodhue’s magnificent building has inspired generations of visitors and worshippers. The new organ will have the potential to provide our generation and its successors with an opportunity to create something lasting, of which we can be proud. To paraphrase the inscription on the famous Willis organ in Blenheim Palace, home to the Churchill family in England: “We leave thy voice to speak within these walls in the years to come when ours are still.” Please help us to realize this vision.
With best wishes,
Organist and Director of Music