Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Church Hopping

As you know, besides being a soundguy and a total nerd, I love Organs...the ones you play...you know the ones with pipes and wind and a keyboard that you find IN CHURCHES. Geesh, glad we clarified that.

When your mentor comes to town then, what do you do? Well you go Church Hopping of course and find other nerds who have the same passions of church music and Church Organs. Just so happens I have made some friends with a lot of church musicians so when Paul and I returned from South Dakota (another post to come) we did what any sensible church musician does. Make some phone calls and go sneak onto the organ bench anywhere you can.

Our first stop was the Basilica. I am sure I could have gotten us on that organ but it would have been a push. Just walking around the building is enough to drop your jaw. Right next door though is the Episcopal Cathedral. We were informed the Music Director likes to seclude himself so we found the organ with the key in it and started exploring the instrument. It's a hodge-podge of organ builders and has some serious power. Of course Paul was in heaven...so was the college kid who was working on a film project. He got some free music to go in the background.

Paul on the Console at St. Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis, MN.
Notice anything odd in this picture?

We then had the joy of joining up with David Cherwien for lunch. David has taken over the Mt. Olive position in Minnapolis, home of Paul Manz and birthplace of the hymn festival. David is of course one of my teachers and directs the NLC which I currently sing in. He was happy to let us jump on his newly rebuilt instrument. It's a joy to hear and play.

You can see Paul Manz' signature on the plate. Paul was in heaven sitting in his idol's church making beautiful music. Downstairs is a framed copy of E'en so quickly Lord Jesus Come manuscript in the Paul Manz Choir Room. Pretty amazing place.

We also headed down to Northfield and I got him into Boe Chapel to play that beast along with going to St. John's the epicenter of Choral Music and where F.M. Christiansen was Choir Director and started the St. Olaf Choir. The instrument there is a beautiful small Dobson about the same size as St. Paul's in Salem. Paul was right at home.

Finally we went and saw the huge Fisk at House of Hope in St. Paul but were unable to get on the instrument because the Organist was in a meeting and they had the thing locked up tight. I never have seen a Presbyterian Church look so Anglican. I gotta go back and see that thing again. We ended up hanging out with Phillip Brunel at Plymouth Congregational and playing his Holtkamp.

Beautifully built instrument.
The room is fasinating but all the wood work doesn't let that huge organ sing. Still a fine instrument and Brunel is a treat to spend anytime with. 42 years of service at this church and no intentions of leaving anytime soon. That guy has way too much energy.

Thank you Paul for a wonderful time and thank you to all the Churches who let two crazy guys in to poke around your churches and play on your organs.

Blessings to y'all - stick around for the postlude every chance you get (best live music you will ever hear, every week, free of charge) and make sure you thank the organist and shake their hand.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear Blog,

Hey! Remember me? I used to take care of you. Apparently I've taken a turn down dead-beat lane. Just thought I'd drop you a note to let you know that I think of you often, miss you dearly, and even plan to give you attention one of these days.

Don't give up on me, Blog! We're in this thing together. You and me! And SoundGuy. And the loyal readers. And the lurkers (hi lurkers!). Just one big happy, moderately functional family. It warms my heart. Hallmark should make a card for this sentiment.

Well-meaning Slack-tastic CP

Friday, January 15, 2010


As everyone is quite aware, there is a horrible disaster happening just south of Florida. I have to admit that I knew very little of Haiti before the media blitz. I knew very little of the history of the country either. I am apart of a seminary who has been sending people to Haiti regularly for quite sometime. Many seminaries send missional outreach and Wartburg Seminary in Iowa lost a student in the earthquake who people here at Luther Seminary knew. It drive things home when a disaster thousands of miles away reaches into your community.

Of course, many people are keenly aware of this comment on the "700 Club" by Pat Robertson.

PAT ROBERTSON: And, you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, "OK, it's a deal."
And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It's cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now, we're helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.
How does anyone who calls themselves a Christian miss the clear and dry statement made in Luke 13:
1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Now, set aside the Repent or Parish issue for a moment. Lets focus on the clarity of the statement Jesus makes in Luke. "Do you think they were more guilty than all the others..." Regardless of the realities of Haiti, the fact that there are other religions besides Christianity (heaven forbid), even Jesus Christ himself poses the question one should ask Pat Robertson..."Do you think the people in Haiti who died were more guilty than the others in Haiti who lived?" "NO!" What theology drives you to draw a connection to some voodoo and a countries ability to win a war? How can you say the actions of a few will lead to the death of thousands and imply that maybe those that die deserve it because of the few?

Death is an inevitable reality of life. Both good people and bad people, Christians and Voodoo, Muslims and Atheists, etc. will die somehow. Lots will die prematurely do to war, famine, natural disasters, cancer, car crashes, disease. There is NEVER a reason no matter how good, how bad, how religious or unreligious a person is. The death toll in Haiti reached 50000 today according to the web. I am sickened by the thought of what people down there are going through, the rubble and bodies they are walking over everyday. The sheer loss of life a people already struggling now face. Nobody should have to deal with that.

My personal theology is one that doesn't believe in Old Testament Judgement where God punishes people. I think the NT makes that pretty clear. Instead, God comes down, walks with us and suffers along next to us. Sometimes we want the magical fix or the miracle cure. Even worse sometimes we want to jump in and fix someone we love's problems but in reality, we just need to be with them, mourn with them, cry with them. Luke's gospel goes on to give the Parable of the fig tree which I highly suggest reading.

I hope you take a moment to think about the people in Haiti. If you can, make a donation to a worthy cause you know will support Haiti right now, even if it's 5 bucks. Most of all, pray. Don't pray for miracles or magic fixes. Pray for the people and for the strength they need to rebuild. Pray for the people trying to help them. And pray for the leaders of the world so they work together to do the best for Haiti and not fight over who is "in charge." I think Haitians need the world to morn with them over the loss they just incurred, not judge them and try to distance ourselves. Just my thoughts.

This is an interesting article to read:

This is a barebones collection of what Voodoo is according to the collective mind:

I highly suggest you do some research and help stem the stupidity of statements like Pat Robertson. Remind anyone who is inclined to agree to read Luke 13 and actually listen to what Jesus is trying to say through him. They might realize the stupidity of their accusation.

Blessings and prayers to Haiti -


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome to 2010 Awesomeness

Sit back, put this in full screen and get ready to be blown away.

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Welcome to CG and worlds that do not exist. I still am a little dumbfounded. Might have to watch this again. Wow.