by JOHN MILLER
A N organ Is one of the
most expensive individual items in a new church. If parish worship is to be conducted according to the Church's ideals it is also one of the most essential items.
Guitars and other instruments can enhance worship with their own particular sound but the organ alone is capable of the power and variety that is necessary to carry a congregation of 200 or 300 people all singing lustily. i Too often the organ is a lastminute additidn to a new church. The architect designs a beautiful building with a spacious sanctuary and a fine public address system. And then somebody retnembers the organ. What happens? The King of Instruments is shunted into a totally unsuitable corner which cannot he used for any
other purpose. The organist cannot see the altar. the pipes cannot speak properly and there is no cohesion between priest, people and organist.
All too often even that unsuitable corner is left empty because the parish has exhausted its funds on other less essential church furnishings. Then a wheezy old harmonium• is bought for a few pounds "to do for the time being."
That is where the vicious circle begins. No organist worth the title will play such an instrument and the job is handed over to someone who "does his best." Unfortunately his best is not very good.
Because the harmonium player is not up to the job and neither is the harmonium, the congregation goes on strike and refuses to sing and thus continues the hoary myth that Catholic congregations cannot sing. Another parish heads for the liturgical doldrums.
New churches today cost upwards of £40,000. If we are to develop a liturgy that is alive and meaningful at least £1,000 of that figure must be allowed for a good organ—pipe or electronic.
Not only must money be put aside for the instrument itself, there must be strict liaison between the architect and the organist about the placing of the instrument and its relationship to the people and the choir.
There are plenty of good organ consultants who, for a modest fee, will advise on every matter concerned with modern worship. The time has come for Catholics to take their music seriously.