PipeChat Digest #4496 - Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 
St Ann & Holy Trinity, Brooklyn
  by <Wdh2@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: St Ann & Holy Trinity, Brooklyn From: <Wdh2@aol.com> Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 04:51:05 EDT   Matt, I have no direct info about St. Ann's other than the point that I did spend about 1-1/2 hours alone on the bench during a visit in 1984. At that = time I did notice that the organ appeared to be in less than pristine shape, but = I also remember that the country had just come out of a horrible recession = in the late 70's that left many parishes barely solvent. At the same time, the Episcopal and Catholic Churches were also on the rebound from the Guitar = and Folk masses of the late 60's well into the 70's and even "important" church instruments were having maintenance budgets reduced if not eliminated = altogether and the inevitable result was that the pipe organs in more than a few churches = had suffered horribly and were to be found in varying states of disrepair. Add = to that point, St. Ann's neighborhood had changed significantly and many in = the neighborhood did not attend nor support St.A/HT's parish and you have a = recipe for what is there today. Again, I reiterate, I have no DIRECT knowledge of parish affairs at = St. A's, but this would not be the first time I've seen a restoration or = renovation budget funded by donations, only to see the senior Pastor "reallocate" the =   funds to a "more important" area of the church. Case in point; in the late = 80's, Bethel AME in Baltimore Maryland had a fine 3mnl Tracker (builder unknown) =   and ONCE had a fine anthem choir who undertook the massive task of raising = the well over 100K needed to restore the organ. At General Conference, a new = pastor was appointed from a West Coast AME church who saw no need for the anthem choir nor the pipe organ, so one of his first official acts was to disband = the choir and reallocate the money raised to another "more pressing need" = within the parish. The pipe organ is still in place and word is that this pastor disaster has been reassigned, prayerfully a pastor will be assigned that = will restore the church to it's music heritage and restore the old organ in the same moment. About the same time as the Bethel Fiasco, I know of another Church in Washington, DC with a dilapidated Kilgen. The church decided to rebuild = the organ without updating the specification, The console was rebuilt and a 32 level =   combination action was installed. Mind you, this was an organ that had = maybe 6-8 pedal stops, nothing above 4' pitch and a grand total of maybe 30 ranks, including a nearly inaudible echo division. The church secretary was "the = church pipe organ authority" eventhough she would not have known a drawknob from = a doorknob and, without regard for advice to the contrary, signed off on = EVERYTHING the builder told her the organ needed. The resulting calliope is a = testament to ignorance in church officials where pipe organ matters are concerned. The list grows longer by the day. Virgil Fox recorded an album at St. Ann's sometime after the 5mnl = Keates console was installed. The selection which stuck in my mind most clearly = was the Reubke 94th Psalm. I also remember speaking to an organist who was = studying in NYC in the late 80's early 90's. He remarked that he was slated to give = a recital at St. Ann's and that the combination action was not working. = Until this thread started, that's the last I've heard of St. Ann's. If ever = there was an organ which screamed and pleaded for restoration, it's St. Ann's. Prayerfully, the tide will turn and the needed funds will flow in that = direction.   Warren D. Hood, II Baltimore Maryland