|Despite changes in style, majestic pipe organs endure at Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant parishes|
Organ builder John Nordlie points at some of the towering pipes on an instrument he built for First United Methodist Church, in Sioux Falls, S.D. The pipe organ has ruled the Christian worship sanctuary for centuries, but a growth in praise-band worship services and a nationwide shortage of qualified organists are prompting many congregations to leave the majestic instrument out of their new building construction plans. But organ aficionados say they see a bright future for the instrument. AP Photo/Dirk Lammers.
By: Dirk Lammers, Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS (AP).- The pipe organ has ruled the Christian worship sanctuary for centuries, and the majestic instrument continues to reign supreme in many Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant parishes.
It's a tougher sell for congregations moving toward contemporary worship.
The growth in praise-band led services, combined with a nationwide shortage of qualified organists, is prompting many congregations to leave pipe organs out of their new construction plans.
Jerry Aultman thinks that's a mistake.
The longtime organist and music professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological said the pipe organ doesn't need to be relegated to funerals and weddings, and it fits nicely into modern worship when used in the right way.
"We shouldn't abandon the organ in contemporary music styles," said Aultman, who plays each Sunday at First Baptist Church in Dallas. "The organ is a wonderful instrument to blend in with any kind of instrumental ensemble. It can fill in a lot of holes in the sound."
The pipe organ, which dates back to the third century B.C., "has always been the choice for churches who want one musician to fill the room with sound," South Dakota organ builder John Nordlie said.
The instrument has been considered expensive throughout its history, with current price tags ranging from $100,000 to well into the millions. But pipe organs hold their value and can last for generations if they're well-designed and well-maintained, he said.
Nordlie crafted his first instrument in 1977 for a church in Appleton, Minn., and has built nearly 50 organs in Sioux Falls shop. Each part is handcrafted, from the wood and metal pipes that turn airflow into notes to the ornate cabinetry that houses the massive structures.
Although electronic and digital instruments can try to emulate the sound of wind being pushed through pipes, "they will never match the sound of the pipe organ," Nordlie said.
"The difference is there," he said. "Whether you take the time to listen carefully is entirely up to you."
The large megabuilders of the 1960s have largely disappeared, but numerous smaller companies are building as many instruments as they can turn out, said James Weaver, executive director of the Organ Historical Society.
Weaver said music aficionados still value the incredible amount of craftsmanship put into each organ. For proof, he points to the top-of-the line organs being built for municipal concert halls such as the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
"The idea of a handmade instrument is something which is just still quite a wonderful thing in our society and it's something that we really care about," Weaver said.
Another factor contributing to the organ's decline is a fewer number of musicians qualified to sit behind the consoles. The pipe organ is a complex instrument, and playing it well requires intensive training and practice.
Weaver said the number of organ students dropped tremendously a few years ago as musicians worried about whether their degrees would lead to jobs. He said he's starting to see a turn-around.
"Now there are more positions available I think," he said.
Aultman agreed. He said there are fewer universities offering organ degrees, but the ones that remain are stronger.
"There are still students that are majoring in organ, and there are still churches that will hire them and pay them a living wage," he said. "And I think that's just going to get better."
Aultman urges organists who want to make a living to embrace contemporary styles. He suggests that organists trained to playing only off of sheet music to learn play off chord charts like Nashville studio musicians.
"My advice to organists is, 'Don't be a snob,'" he said. "You're not going to probably find a position where you can play all Bach preludes and fugues for the bulk of your work."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
December 27, 2012
Israeli dig uncovers ancient Judaean temple dated to the early monarchic period
After a successful year, Bonhams ends 2012 with over 30 new world auction records
New display of American art at Detroit Institute of Arts commemorates the Civil War
Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum among the many highlights of TEFAF Maastricht
Bonhams to offer the renowned Oldenburg family collection of classic automobiles
John Van Doren and Dorsey Waxter announced the opening of a new gallery in New York
Art13 London announces focus on Contemporary photography, prints and editions
Despite changes in style, majestic pipe organs endure at Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant parishes
Mathematics is anything but boring at New York City's newest museum: MoMath
Expert, appraiser, and television personality Lark Mason predicts top 10 collecting trends for 2013
Colour Rain at the Bamboo Grove: Seminal Austrian artist Hubert Schmalix turns 60
Prestige watches, sapphires and gold sparkle in Government Auction's New Year's Day Auction
Stephenson's plans festive New Year's Day auction of items from prime Philadelphia estates and residences
Carl Morris' "History of Religions" returns to the Barker Gallery at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Fred Wilson's artworks explore museum practices within a museum setting
Homelands: One of the year's most anticipated exhibitions, opens in 4 cities across India in 2013
Auckland Triennial curator asks 'If you were to live here...'
Larasati announces sale of artworks by renowned Southeast Asian and Indo-European masters
Major new multimedia project by Tadasu Takamine at Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Regrets: Upper Belvedere opens exhibition featuring recent work by Jasper Johns
2.- Swedish-born star of La Dolce Vita, Anita Ekberg, has died in Rome at the age of 83
3.- Swedish archaeologists find rare 2,500-year-old relief depicting two pharaonic deities
4.- 'American Dreams: Paintings by John Mellencamp' opens at the Morris Museum of Art
5.- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum welcomes Nathaniel Silver as Assistant Curator of the Collection
6.- Art Institute names new curator: Rebecca Long will be responsible for Italian and Spanish art
7.- The 'Holy Grail' of electric guitars, the original Les Paul 'Black Beauty' prototype, up for auction at Guernsey's
8.- 10,000 photos taken between 1840 and 1920 from Jerome Manin's collection to be sold
9.- Special Asterix cartoons to honour French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo dead
10.- The art world uncovered: Art travel experiences like you've never seen before
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|