Delivery, Installation, Voicing!
by Dr. Stephan Casurella, Canon Precentor & Director of Music
We are about to enter the most exciting stage of our new nave organ project: delivery, installation, and voicing! More about that in a moment. First, a summary of what has been accomplished since the organ committee’s last update:
General contractor HGC has completed the construction phase of the project which included
- Structural modifications to the chancel to bear the weight of the organ
- Reduction in the noise of mechanical systems
- Updated and expanded lighting capabilities
- Improved audio/visual equipment
- Significant acoustical improvements (under the guidance of Threshold Acoustics LLC).
- Organ builders Richards Fowkes & Co. (RFC) have visited the cathedral to experience the acoustical improvements—important information as they perform preliminary voicing of pipes in the shop
- Completed the pipework, winding systems, and most of the casework
- Begun erecting the organ in their shop for the final stages of key action construction and pipe racking.
Members of our organ committee, in consultation with cathedral program and facilities staff, have identified the least-disruptive time for installation to begin, avoiding particularly busy times such as Advent and Christmas.
So, what is the timetable for us to receive the organ?
- Delivery and installation of the winding system and largest pipes in the last week of October
- Delivery and installation of the casework the week of January 13
- Delivery and installation of pipework the week of January 20.
Erecting the organ in the chancel will take two-three weeks from January 13, after which we will begin the nine-month intensive voicing process, during which the builders will adjust each pipe to work perfectly with the other pipes and with the acoustics of the room. However, we won’t have to wait until the end of the voicing process to hear the organ. Several new ranks will become playable each week; therefore, we will enjoy an ever-broadening palette of colors!
The journey to installation of Richards Fowkes & Co. Opus 24 at the cathedral has taken longer than we initially hoped. This is due, in part, to some changes in the RFC staff of artisans, more restrictive immigration policies that preclude recruiting highly skilled European builders, and the multi-year apprenticeship needed to train new builders. However, its sound will be all the more glorious to our ears as it takes its place in our liturgies and concerts!