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An instrument of praise: Grace Episcopal Church consecrates new pipe organ

POSTED: February 1, 2008 5:04 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Grace Episcopal Church holds its program "A Festival Evensong and the Dedication and Blessing of our New Casavant Freres Organ" Sunday evening. Atlanta Bishop Neil Alexander blessed the church's new organ.

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After months of installation and fine-tuning, Grace Episcopal Church finally enjoyed the fruits of its labor Sunday during a consecration ceremony for the sanctuary’s new $1 million pipe organ.

The company Casavant Freres of Quebec, Canada, custom-built the organ which has three manual pedals, three keyboards and 47 rows of 3,000 pipes.

Weighing some 26 tons, the Casavant organ is expected to last 80 to 100 years, according to David Brown, the church’s organist and director of music. The extravagant pipe organ replaced an electric organ that Brown said "sort of ran its cycle."

The attainment and installation of the new organ has been a two-year process for Grace Episcopal. The organ parts arrived in October, but it took several weeks to assemble the grandiose instrument, and still longer to tune every pipe to perfection.

To consecrate the new organ, the church held a traditional Evensong, or evening prayer service Sunday, that has changed little since the 16th century. The adult choir sang in conjunction with Atlanta Bishop Neil Alexander’s delivery of the liturgy of consecration for the new organ.

"The Scriptures reveal that from earliest times God’s people have made use of musical instruments to worship the Lord our God," Alexander said.

"Make this place resound with the lifted voices of God’s people and with the rich voice of this wonderful new organ!"

Brown kicked off the classical music portion of the service when he performed a complex rendition of J.S. Bach’s "Prelude and Fugue in G Major."

"Music is very important to worship and with the new organ, it just enhances our worship," said Grace Episcopal member Mary Lynn Coyle. "And beyond the church, it’s a wonderful gift to the community, as well, because the organ won’t be used just for church services, it’ll be an opportunity to have concerts that are open to the community."



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