St. Dunstan’s Organ Celebrations

By Christopher Wells, Joe Balistreri, and Christa Albrecht

We celebrated the wonderful new organ in St. Dunstan’s last week and weekend. We give thanks to Simon Couture, Alain Goneau, Jens Peterson, and the entire crew at Casavant for their craftsmanship and artistic vision. We also give thanks for the profound generosity of those who contributed financially to this project. Thank you to Christopher Wells, Joe Balistreri, and James Kibbie for bringing this wonderful instrument to life. Thank you to the choir and congregation who filled the space to celebrate this historical moment for the church! Finally thank you to the flower guild and Joe LaVela who made this exotic flower arrangement inspired by organ pipes!

From Christ Albrecht: “My dear friends, we have come together to dedicate this organ given to us so the celebration of the liturgy may become more beautiful and solemn. The purpose of music in the sacred liturgy is to give glory to God and to lead us to holiness. Thus the music of the organ wonderfully expresses the new song that Scripture tells us to sing to the Lord. To sing this new song is to live joyfully, to follow God’s will eagerly and gladly, and to carry out the new commandment that Jesus gave us, to love one another.” The Rev. Dr. William Danaher at yesterday’s dedication.

Such a beautiful service, and Christopher Wells and Joe Balistreri made that organ sing sweetly like songbirds, in “Under a green Linden tree”, humbly plead in “have mercy on me”, and, of course, presented Bach’s composition with majesty.

The small group of vocalists sang heavenly! It was a special pleasure to hear the beauty of their voices emphasized by the great acoustics under the dome of the chapel.

From Joe Balistreri: “A former parishioner who returned after many years away made a profound remark. He said that organists, singers, choirs, and clergy change, but the unique sound of a church’s organ is its truest and most enduring voice.

When I arrived at Christ Church Cranbrook, Casavant’s beautiful opus 3937 was just about to be finished in St. Dunstan’s chapel. It is clear to me that this organ is the voice of that sacred space. Like the chapel’s architecture, it evokes the past through its temperament and mechanical action. The sound is clear and broad like the stone arches of the chapel. Last night’s dedication ceremonies were truly special. There was a wonderful energy in the congregation, and it was a treat to hear, from various places in the room, how the organ, organist, congregation, clergy, and choir sang together. ”




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