From The Interim Rector - May Manifest
An Old Friend is Moving to Arizona
When the Parish made the monumental decision to purchase the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and take the next step is its 188 year history it was decided at that time that it was also the right time to retire the Aeolian Skinner organ and commission a new organ. From what I understand, the commissioning of a new organ has been a dream of the parish for over a decade. The sale of our building has made it possible for the parish to realize that dream.
After many meetings and much hard work, including listening to a number of instruments here and in other parts of the country, the Organ Task Force recommended that the Vestry approve the Bigelow Organ company to design and build our new organ. After much discussion, various revisions to the initial design and final approval of the case work, Bigelow is moving full steam ahead in building our new organ. It will be completed and installed in 2023.
Last year, after listing the Skinner organ for sale, a buyer came forward and the Vestry approved the sale of the organ to the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company of Patterson, New Jersey. At the time of the sale, Peragallo did not have a new home for our organ and agreed that we could keep using it until such time as they found that new home. Last week they informed me that they had found a suitable home for the Skinner at St. Bernadette’s Roman Catholic Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. They will be incorporating the Skinner into a larger instrument that the parish has commissioned. The unfortunate news for Epiphany is that they need it as soon as possible. Therefore, they will begin removing the organ on Wednesday, May 12th. Fortunately, after a bit of scrambling, we will be able to offer the parish the opportunity to attend an in-person farewell recital 6:30 at on May 9th. The recital will also be live-streamed.
As a part of our sales agreement with Peragallo, they will be providing us with an interim organ without charge until we move into our new home. It will be an electric organ and while it will not match the quality of sound a pipe organ can provide, it will be sufficient to support our return to in-person worship and the week-to-week music life of the parish.
I regret that I will not be able to be with you for the final performance of the organ as I will be in Oregon on vacation. And, unfortunately, Jeremy Jelinek, our Interim Organist is not available to play. Besides Jeremy’s commitments as a full time graduate student at Juilliard, along with preparing the music each week for the Sunday service he is also a quarter finalist in the Canadian Organ Competition. The next round is coming up next week so, as you can imagine, he is hard at work practicing every available minute he has. However, Stephen Rapp, our Organ Consultant who has been working with the Organ Task Force and myself, is available and is happy to step in and help us bid farewell to the Aeolian Skinner.
While saying goodbye to the Skinner is sad, we do so knowing that it will live on to bless generations to come in its new parish home. And, in 2023 we will welcome the new Opus 44 from Bigelow Organ Builders & Co. This instrument has been meticulously designed to fit not only our musical needs now and into the future, but built so as to capitalize on all the strengths of our new worship space and to compensate for its weaknesses. In addition, the architects, Mike Bigelow and I are working very closely with Scott Riedel & Associates who are serving as our acoustician on this project to ensure the new worship space will allow the Opus 44 to shine both musically and visually.
In closing I have included the sketch provided by Bigelow of the Opus 44 and its casework. It will be a stunning visual addition to the Sanctuary, not to mention an instrument that will bring us familiar as well as new musical expressions of worship and beauty.