I spent this afternoon at my church
today, pulling RG-59 cable for a video system, that will allow both Church organ
s to be played together. I go to First Congregational Church U.C.C.
in Columbus, Ohio
. We are particularly blessed in that the church has two concert
class pipe organs. Up until now, I have only heard the von Beckerath, a 3,700 pipe beauty that excels in baroque music
, and the German repertoire. It has a pure, rich tone
, and during the service the notes seem to float down to you from above, as if the music
were coming from heaven
But the von Beckerath is not the church's original organ. A 4,400 pipe Kimball was installed when the church was built in 1931, I will write more on this later, but the organ has been inoperable for the entire time I have attended First Church. Organs require a lot of maintenance, and between leaky airbox, bad seals,coal dust, dirty pipes and balky relays the instrument has been unplayable for some time. A few years ago someone died and left a small fortune for the Kimball. A three year restoration is now complete.
The von Beckarath is located above the church balcony, in front of the rose window on the front wall above the narthex The Kimball is 104 feet away, right next to the sanctuary. It takes sound 2.5 seconds to travel the distance, so if we want to be able to use both organs together-- and we do-- there must be some video connection so both organists will know when to play.
As I was trying to fish a conduit to pull the video wire up to the Kimball, our Minister of Music showed up to start a rehearsal for this Sunday's service. The Kimball was about to be played. Since I had never heard it before, I wandered into the nave to listen.
Holy Mother of God!
I love the von Beckerath. It's a very direct, pure organ. You ask it for Bach and she says, "Yeah, Baby I got your fugue right here." But I think I'm about to become a bigamist. The Kimball isn't like that . . . it has a lush, orchestral sound, more subtle with rich textures. Ideal for the English repertoire. Not that it doesn't rock. Tim played it very soft to work with the soloist, but when it opens up the whole building shakes. I could feel my pants moving in time with the pedal notes.
I've always wondered if it was possible for a man to have two loves. Now I know. I think I'm falling in love all over again.
For a peek at the von Beckerath, a bit of organ music, and info on both organs go to http://www.first-church.org There is also a link to our Congregational Concert series, all free.