Questions and Answers

Have a question not answered here? Email ten.hcruhceelilag@yram.

Why add more pipes?

The 1957 Wicks organ was very small, not designed for the church Galilee is today. Adding the digital organ in 2002 tried to overcome that, but it is now failing.

The new organ will serve Galilee’s needs now and for generations.

How often would we use the chancel console?

A lot! The chancel console would be used for all Compline, Evensongs, Lessons & Carols, often when Children Choristers sing, collaboration with contemporary band, concerts, etc.

Why is the congregation hearing about this after a decision has been made?

Due to necessary speed to save the organ for use at Galilee.

The organ committee sought proposals from five of the most respected organ builders in North America and reviewed each carefully. The accepted proposal is one of the two most economical options, and yet one of the most sought-after builders for this type of project.

What makes this organ so special that we rushed to save/buy it?

It is a “one person orchestra”, designed to replicate the sound of many orchestral instruments from strings and flutes to trumpets and tubas, and even harp and bells!

Tonally best suited for Episcopal worship, which is why Episcopal churches were Skinner’s largest customer base. The sound of this instrument is ideal for energizing a room and leading congregational singing. It is also full of gentle and subtle color sounds for accompanying choirs in the Anglican tradition.

Very few early Skinner organs remain. This will be the only one in Hampton Roads, and it will absolutely be among the best organs in our region.

Why does it cost so much to build or restore a pipe organ?

Pipe organs are extremely complex pieces of machinery containing thousands upon thousands of parts to convey pressurized air to pipes, which produce the sound. At one time they were likely the most complex thing ever built by man. Each pipe organ is custom built, and all components are constructed from scratch, from smelting special metal alloys for pipes to tanning special leather for pneumatic parts. Just think how complicated it would be to play thousands of little whistles at one time…now think of those whistles as being up to 18’ long and scatter them out over a few thousand square feet!

Why a pipe organ? Isn’t our digital organ good enough?

Digital organs are an appliance. They become obsolete almost the moment they leave the factory as their software and components are always changing. Though impressive 20 years ago, plasma televisions of 2003 are now very outdated and difficult to service. Who stocks parts for or repairs a 20 year old TV that could be replaced (with a vastly superior product!) for less cost? Digital organs generally have a lifespan of about 20 years…and our digital organ is now over 22 years old. Though digital organ technology has improved over 20 years, they are still appliances and poor investments.

Pipe organs have been constructed following the same basic principles for hundreds of years: air is pressurized and directed through pitched pipes to energize air and produce sound. Through the centuries different builders have devised different manners to achieve those functions, including modern solid-state control systems and playing aids, but they are built to stand the test of time and to be renewable for centuries. A pipe organ, though a large initial investment, is good long-term stewardship.

We have opportunities for you to serve in the following areas:

  • Small Groups: Leaders and assistants for small groups (training will be provided)
  • Hospitality: Kitchen team member. Duties include assisting in cooking, set up, and cleaning
  • Greeters: For Sunday Services

For further details, please contact:

Ruth Tanner Wilkins
Director of Adult Programs