Many of you heard my “I Have a Dream” talk during worship last December. In my talk I spoke about Holy Cross being a “destination church”, where when people come into the NOVA area they hear about all the great things Holy Cross is doing and how they need to check us out. I outlined my dream for the music program as possibly turning our current pipe organ into a combination organ. We do not have space for more pipes and digital technology has improved so greatly that it is next to impossible to hear the difference between pipes and speakers on a combination instrument. Having this technology would enhance worship that much more. I also spoke about expanding our bell choirs from three octaves to four or five octaves. This would allow more people to participate in the music program and also enhance worship that much more.
I am beyond happy to report that, before I went home from church that day, enough money for organ improvements and two more octaves of handbells were donated!
Combination Organ: On the advice of a few organ builders and a few organ colleagues, I have decided to work a company called Walker Technical to upgrade the pipe organ. The representative from Walker Technical came to HCLC last month and began talking with me about exactly what we can do and how we can do it. The possibilities are better than I expected and this will be an amazing upgrade.
I asked for references from Walker Technical and they sent me to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD where they upgraded the chapel organ from pipe to pipe/digital. I was fortunate to be able to spend the day with Monte Maxwell (Naval Academy organist for the past 20 years) last month. Mr. Maxwell was a wealth of knowledge about the process we are embarking on. The Academy organ has over 300 ranks (more than ten times the size of HCLC’s organ). Of these 300 ranks, about 200 are digital and 100 are pipes. It is a stunning instrument and the sounds produced by digital ranks are magnificently realistic. I have another trip in the works to the Academy and will start to finalize an outline of new stops on the HCLC organ. The hardest job will be whittling down the more than 200 options of digital ranks to 10 or 15 that I want to put on the HCLC organ.
Fourth and Fifth Octaves of Handbells: These were ordered on January 4th from Schulmeric Handbells (the same factory who built our original three octaves of handbells). With an expected delivery date of five to six weeks, I figured they would arrive sometime mid February. Apparently they got right to work, because the bells arrived in the middle of the Snowzilla storm clean up. Everything was still shut down (including the HCLC office) and we were not there to receive them. For whatever reason FedEx left them in the snow outside our front door… Had Pastor Jones not come by to check on the building, they would still be out there. All $16,000 worth of handbells, just hanging out in the snow! No damage was done to anything. I had been to the building at 9:30 AM that morning and Doug came by at noon, so we know the bells were not outside for more than three hours.
The handbells are beautiful and I am having a lot of fun planning how we will use them in worship. They will be dedicated at HCLC on April 3 at both worship services. Be sure to have the date on your calendar!
I can’t express how grateful I am to have such strong support in my ministry at Holy Cross.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Jeremy Shoop, Director of Music Ministries