Organ Update (12/2014)

  • Posted on: 1 December 2014
  • By: iduerr

Dear Zion Members and Friends,

The year 2014 was a notable one in the music history of Zion Church. Upon final installation of Zion’s newly restored organ in February 2014, the congregation was once again able to enjoy the full vibrant sound of a working pipe organ. The stirring Easter Sunday performance of Widor’s Toccata and the quality presentations on Church Music Sunday in May were audible testimony that Zion’s music legacy will continue. No longer is a sustained note a cause for worry about ciphers, but rather a musical expression of emotion. Some may even consider it a metaphor for Zion’s long fundraising journey, finally coming to fulfillment.

A proud and memorable highlight of this past year was Zion’s Organ Dedication Sunday on September 21, 2014. Zion’s new organ, Opus 60 by Patrick J. Murphy Organbuilders, was dedicated to the praise and glory of God in an uplifting service with joyous music by John Heizer and Zion’s Choir, and an inspirational sermon on God’s grace by Pastor Roggelin. The Dedication Recital was played by guest organist Eric Plutz of Princeton University to a capacity audience. Mr. Plutz’s stirring performance showcased the full range and expression of Zion’s new organ. A cherished memory will be the resounding congregational singing of Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is our God”. Following the concert, Zion extended its hospitality to over 200 guests with a first-class reception.

Zion Church may be proud of its new organ as an asset for our own worship and for the music community in Baltimore. The organ has received much praise, with many favorable comments on its voicing and expressive quality. Most recently it was featured on the cover of the January 2015 issue of The American Organist. In a recent letter, Mr. Plutz congratulated Zion Church for our “conviction and foresight”, “with a hearty Bravo to the parish for their hard work!” American Guild of Organists Chapter President John Walker further commented on the success of the instrument noting “This organ will be a great blessing—not only for the parish, but also for the entire city”. At the December Organ Recital played by Frederick Bahr, Tonal Director of P.J. Murphy & Associates, the public again had opportunity to hear the versatility of Zion’s organ.

The high praise for Zion’s organ must now serve to inspire and energize us as we strive to meet the financial challenges of our loan debt. Fundraising in 2014 focused on a variety of efforts, including the popular Rouladen Dinner, an Art & Music event, and two successful raffles for sports event tickets and airline travel certificates. Zion Church is extremely grateful for the many donations received in support of the Organ Fund in 2014. We also greatly appreciate the commitment of all persons who fulfilled their 3-year pledges to the Organ Fund.

As we begin 2015, the reality is this: we owe $229,767 for the organ portion of the Mission Investment Fund Loan. Our monthly payment for the organ is estimated at $2,500. Zion Church depends on your continued support of the Organ Fund and your patronage of our fundraising events. It is because of the faithful support of our congregation and many generous friends of Zion that we are able to boldly praise God with uplifting organ music. Your gift to the Organ Fund in 2015 will enable Zion to continue its tradition as a worship and cultural presence in the City of Baltimore.