Music

The Bedient Pipe Organ, Opus 70

In our modern world, “going shopping” usually means going to the showroom to see and try out the latest model.  But there are no showrooms for purchasing a new pipe organ.  Everything about Bedient Opus 70 has been tailored and designed especially for us; Saint Paul United Methodist Church.  Of the many design considerations a few important ones include; the role that the organ will play in the worship and celebration life of the church,  the visual appearance and how it coordinates with the room, and the physical size of the sanctuary and the pipe chamber.  All play an important part in designing an organ that is unique to our church.

The worship role played by the modern pipe organ has its roots in the Medieval Church and explains to a degree why, for centuries, the pipe organ has been the instrument of choice by Christian Churches throughout the West.  The mechanical complexity of the pipe organ was seen to be a reflection of the universe God created.  It was a physical and tangible way to harness the physics of musical sound as found in creation.  God’s person was also thought to be well expressed by the sounds of the organ; God’s power and might related to the strong, loud, powerful ensemble of the organ; the Holy Spirit to the whispering of modern soft stops and the air (“like a rushing mighty wind”, Acts 2:2) used to blow the pipes.  It is easy, therefore, to see how the role of the organ continues to point to the living God as the object of our worship and the source of our redemption.

The visual design of the organ case, it’s balance of angles, curves and straight lines work together with the arches of the ceiling, the rounded balcony rails and graceful lines of the new chancel floor to create a harmonious alliance.  The decorative foliage in the stained glass windows provide the model for the woodcarvings at the top of the pipe towers and sides of the organ case to further unify the elements of the sanctuary.  Worship of our Redeemer, when surrounded by beautiful objects, inspires our hearts to raise a song of praise deepening our dependence on God.

The building of an organ requires a high level of intellect, specialized skill of  craftsmen or artisans and time to create.  A successful instrument is carefully wedded to the pipe chamber and worship space.  It is often said the room is the most important stop on the organ.  It acts as a resonance chamber in a way similar to the body of a violin amplifying the strings across the bridge.  Each pipe is voiced or made to speak based on its response in the room and its relationship to the other pipes in the organ.  The new live acoustic of our sanctuary not only enhances the voice of the organ, but also encourages ease and liveliness of congregational singing.  May we together raise a joyous song to the delight of God’s heart.