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.
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.