The Organ at DUMC

The time has finally arrived. For the first time this Sunday, we will hear our new organ as a congregation! Though a small part of the organ is still incomplete, the vast majority is at our disposal (more than 80 of the 100 ranks), and the rest will be available in the near future. As a singing congregation, this is a giant step forward for us; this organ is one of the most versatile and expressive instruments anywhere. The pipework originates from two instruments we purchased a few years ago with the intention to build a grand organ. It combines prior work of two of the world’s master builders, E.M. Skinner and Casavant Frères. In those pipes are some of the most beautiful colors—Skinner’s hallmark—and very impressive English-style principal pipes ever built by the French-Canadian builder Casavant.

Almost all of the pipes are under expression (having shutters that open and close), so that many sounds can be played in a dynamic range from delicately soft to powerfully grand. Our previous instruments lacked the capacity to achieve truly quiet sounds, and in their stronger dynamic were often piercing and harsh. This organ specializes in warmth and variety, with sounds that envelop, and encourage singing. It will do so for generations to come.

We have been waiting a long time for this, the installation and inauguration of the new pipe organ, but it didn’t just magically come to pass. Many people have been working over that long time to make it happen. We are standing on the shoulders’ of giants; from Wallace and Marilyn McLeod in the early days of our music program and onward through the solid establishment of a truly high-caliber music program. Our worship will be gloriously enhanced through the never-say-die efforts of many faithful people—a great number of whom are still working hard in our midst.

We are grateful to all of them, and to Quimby Pipe Organs for their brilliant and unflagging work in bringing to life this complex “king of instruments.” We will hear its sounds, tender and mighty, as our “voice of God” over the coming weeks and months.

As J. S. Bach penned after all his compositions, “Soli Deo Gloria— to God alone be the glory.”

Rev. C.G. Walden and Mary Ruth Solem, Organist