Monday, June 20, 2011

Inaugural Recital

On Friday, June 17, Dr. Frederick Teardo performed the first recital on our new organ. The program, well chosen for this organ, included the first movement of Elgar's Sonata Op. 28, the Franck 1st Chorale and the Reubke Sonata on the 94th Psalm. The church was packed and Dr. Teardo played masterfully! The event was heartily enjoyed by all who attended.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dedication Mass

This past November 22, we celebrated a Mass during which we dedicated our new altar and rededicated the entire church. For this our bishop came to lead the celebration, as is the tradition for a church dedication. Here are some photos of the Mass.

Right to left; Fr. Robert Cilinski, the Dean of our Deanery,
Deacon Richard Delio, Bishop Paul Loverde, Fr. Don Rooney,
our Pastor and Fr. Mark Mealy, the chancellor of our diocese. 
Elizabeth Eschen leading the Responsorial Psalm.
Bishop Loverde giving his homily.
Bishop Loverde anointing the altar with the Sacred
Chrism (specially blessed olive oil scented with balsam.)
Fr. Rooney anointing the walls of
the church with the Sacred Chrism.
The bishop incensing the altar for the first time.
Some of our children bringing flowers to decorate the altar.
Gathering all the priests to begin the Eucharistic
Prayer. You can see the entire organ facade/reredos,
including Fr. Rooney's paintings of twelve saints. 
The Eucharistic Prayer. 
Bishop Loverde "looking up to heaven.
The Saint Mary Choir. 
The Mass is ended and altar server
Hillary Hanson leads the procession. 

Specification Updated

Since Christmas we've had a chance to tweak a few things. One of the more interesting items, we wired the 4' Violina and its celeste to play as one stop at 8'. We gave up the Swell Midi knob, but felt that was a pretty good trade. "Nothing succeeds like excess," as they say. 

So here is an updated spec. You can click on it to enlarge. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas at Saint Mary in Fredericksburg

It's been some time since my last post. Thanksgiving Day, the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Sundays of Advent, the Rite of Acceptance of our inquirers in the Order of Catechumens, a number of funerals and weddings and of course Christmas (11 Masses in less than 24 hours) have been celebrated with our new organ!  The instrument is truly a joy to play. In particular, the diapasons and strings especially are so vivid and full of energy. The reeds (all nine of them) are just grand and the flutes are truly 'magical'. I would like to think that Henry 'Father' Willis would be very pleased with what we have done: a huge palate of color, especially genuine 8 and 4 foot color designed to support every moment of liturgical worship. 

Of particular interest over the past month has been the weddings and funerals. The average Sunday Mass is attended by over 600, and while the organ fully serves a packed church, the challenge of playing hymns effectively for a funeral attended by 50 is just as easily met by this organ. Even at the reduced volume level necessitated by a small congregation, there is a fantastic variety of registration possible. 

Here are some photos I took on December 26 in the mid-afternoon with most of the lights outs. The main light was from the drearily clouded skies that day (we had an on-again - off-again snow "event" (as they say nowadays)).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Altar Dedicated - Organ Played for the First Time

On Monday, November 22, our bishop presided at a Mass to dedicate our new altar and rededicate our church, following its extensive renovation. The evening before, we celebrated First Vespers for the Dedication of a Church. Our Youth Choir formed the schola for the liturgy, leading psalms and antiphons, and the organ was heard publicly for the first time. The prelude was Bach's famous and lovely Schmucke dich, showing off the organ's gorgeous swell diapason in the chorale melody.

There are photos of both liturgies and I'll get them up as soon as I can. We're all still catching our breath after these major events. The dedication Mass lasted 2 1/2 hours (which is normal for a Roman Catholic liturgy of this type.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ready to Play

This week saw the conclusion of installation, and we are ready to play the organ starting this Sunday evening at a special Solemn Vespers celebrating the dedication of our new stone altar and the re-dedication of our church. On Monday evening our bishop will preside at the Mass of Dedication. 

The end of the week was bitter-sweet as we looked forward to the use of this incredible instrument but also realized we were soon to say goodbye to the amazing experience of installing such an organ, as well as goodbye, for now, to some new dear friends, Mary-William, Kathy, Bill, Debi, Pat, Steve, and Chuck. They all were the hardest working people in Fredericksburg for the past ten weeks. In any major installation there will be challenges provided by the instrument and/or the site, and our friends from COCA/Robert William Wallace Pipes Organs adapted to/rolled with/patiently endured all of them. Our parish is so grateful for what they have done for us and for their continual warmth and good cheer.

Here are photos from the past week. 

The cover has been put on the
relay cabinet, always a good sign.
In the forground is the main static reservoir. The main windline
 enters beneath it through the floor. Behind it on the right is the
 booster blower for the Pontifical Tuba; on the left is its regulator/
reservoir. We're blowing the Tuba at 18" now and it sounds great!
The view out the Great early Thursday evening.
On the last day, with twilight falling, Debi, Bill and
Mary-William contemplate voicing the bass
octave of the Dulciana. Pat and I helped too. Bill
worked on the pipes while we were his extra hands
with the fragile, slender pipes. Mark was at the console
downstairs. We did in 20 minutes what would have
taken an hour without the extra helpers.
It was one of those magic moments. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pipes in the Choir

Here are some photos I took of the pipe work in the choir division. 
The boots of the Pontifical Tuba.  Note the tiny treble pipes.
The bells of the Pontifical Tuba.
This is the Bois Celeste; it goes with the Chant Flute.
The Oboe Horn (capped, conical pipes)
and the Clarinet (cylindrical pipes).
The Oboe Horn and the Clarinet again.
The Chant Flute, one of our vintage ranks. The large
pipes in the background are the Violin Diapason.
Also visible is the Octave and Viole. In the foreground
 are some of the Viole Celeste pipes. 
The Pontifical Tuba ominously looking through the inner swell shades.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Final Delivery

On Wednesday, with the entire Robert William Wallace install team back on site, the final delivery arrived. Work began immediately and in a few hours the remaining choir division chests were in place for wiring and winding, and the English Horn and the 5 rank Swell Mixture were put in. At the same time preparations began to mount the facade pipes. By Thursday the special toe-boards were in place as well as the offset wind chests that supply the wind, through hoses, to those toe-boards. On Friday, up went the 23 of the 25 facade pipes. The remaining 5 will be mounted after we no longer need to access the organ through the front. That will be a sad day, for the hatch in the organ floor is not a lot of fun. 

Meanwhile, when it was quiet enough, tonal finishing continued with work on the Salicional and the Horn Diapason (Swell) and the Violoncello (Great), among others. I'm anxious to hear the stops of the Choir division, especially the Magic Flute, the Viole and its Celeste, the Clarinet and, of course, the Pontifical Tuba. Actually, we have heard the bass C of the Tuba, as the chest is running. The rest of the pipes probably won't go in until all winding and wiring is complete.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tonal Finishing

Tonal finishing began this week as Bill Hamner and Mark Scholtz worked through the flue work of the Great. One of this week's goals was to fully realize the envisioned relationship between the 1st and the 2nd Diapason. Their relative positioning in the chamber, as well as the fact that the 1st diapason (of larger scale than the 2nd) is one of the vintage ranks (c. 1960) we had refurbished, meant the pipes needed some tweaking now that they can be heard in the acoustics they now call home. Below, Mark (in red) and Bill work on pipes mounted on a voicing machine, basically a small organ arranged so the voicer can conveniently work on the pipes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Team

Here's a photo of members of the Robert William Wallace Pipe Organs install team toward the end of a week of excellent work. On Monday Mark Scholtz and Bill Hamner will start tonal finishing of the Great, Swell and Pedal. Those divisions are running and have been tuned several times as well as had some voicing work. 

We have most of the Choir chests set up, winded and wired. Around Nov. 10 we'll get the Choir finished and put in the pipes, including the big Tuba. When that's done we'll put in the facade pipes. There are 28 of them and the will stand on four separate toe boards mounted in the top of the cabinets in the sanctuary (altar area) below the organ.  They will be winded from two offset chests in the Great chamber. Hoses, one for each pipe, will run from the offsets to the toe boards below. That will be an exciting day!