Archive for June, 2013

Crystal Cathedral Ministries purchases Frederick Swann Residence Organ


Left photo: Robert Tall, Fred Swann, Tom Leonard • Upper right: Shepherd’s Grove (formerly St. Callistus) Lower right: Robert Tall voicing Fred Swann Organ in Shepherd Grove Sanctuary

In 2012, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange purchased the Crystal Cathedral megachurch and campus in Garden Grove, California. After extensive renovation it will be consecrated and known as Christ Cathedral. In early July, the Crystal Cathedral Ministries will move to their new worship center, presently known as St. Callistus Roman Catholic Church. It is very near the Crystal Cathedral campus in Garden Grove. The Crystal Cathedral Congregation will be known as Shepherd’s Grove. It will also be the new home of the televised ‘Hour of Power. The sanctuary seats about 1,200 people. From the very beginning, organ has been an important part of the Crystal Cathedral worship services. Frederick Swann served as director of music and organist there for 16 years (1982-1998). In preparation for the move to their new church facility, the Crystal Cathedral Ministries purchased Frederick Swann’s Residence Organ, a gift from a church family “in recognition and honor of Fred’s distinguished musical leadership.” It shall be known as the Fred Swann Organ. It is a custom designed 4-Manual Rodgers digital organ, built on a state-of-the-art system known as Parallel Digital Imaging™ technology. Church Keyboard Center, Nelson Dodge, President completed the installation. Dr. Robert Tall accomplished the tonal finishing in consultation with Frederick Swann and Tom Leonard, Crystal Cathedral (Shepherd’s Grove) organist.

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New 4-Manual Rodgers Infinity 484 installed in Frederick Swann’s Palm Springs residence.

Frederick Swann is one of the world’s most distinguished organists. Born in West Virginia, the son of a Methodist bishop, he began taking piano lessons as a 5-year old. By the age of ten, he was playing the church’s organ for services when his teacher died suddenly. He is former president of the American Guild of Organists (2002–2008), Organist Emeritus of the famed Crystal Cathedral and the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Dr. Swann was associated with the music ministry of the famed Riverside Church in New York City from 1952 through 1982. In 1982, he was appointed organist and music director at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. During his tenure there (1982–1998), he was widely regarded as the most visible organist in the world, as millions in every major city in more than 165 countries worldwide saw and heard him on the weekly televised services. He currently lives in Palm Springs, California, where he is Artist-in-residence at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert and University Organist and Artist Teacher of Organ at the University of Redlands. During his impressive career, he has owned four generations of Rodgers organs. Recently (June 2013) he purchased a new 4-Manual Rodgers Infinity 484 (pictured above) for his Palm Springs residence. The new Infinity 484 replaced a 4-Manual custom Rodgers organ, which was purchased by the Crystal Cathedral Ministries and installed in their new church facility. (See story below) Dr. Swann’s Rodgers organ was purchased through Rodgers’ Los Angeles dealer, Church Keyboard Center, Nelson Dodge, President, Dr. Robert Tall, Tonal Director.

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Robert Tall appointed to committee position for restoration of the Hazel Wright Memorial Organ

Dr. Robert Tall has accepted position to serve as a member of the Orange Catholic Foundation organ sub-committee for the restoration of the Hazel Wright Memorial Organ at the future Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Fundraising for the organ restoration was officially launched on May 18, 2013 at a benefit concert performed by Hector Olivera, with underwriting provided by Rodgers Instruments, Robert Tall & Associates, Ruth Charles of Charles Music, and Church Keyboard Center.

Hazel Wright Memorial Organ

The Hazel Wright Memorial Organ is a combination of a 1977 Ruffatti organ installed in the Arboretum on the Crystal Cathedral campus and a 1962 Aeolian-Skinner organ that was formerly at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. It was inaugurated in May 1982 at the Philip Johnson-designed 2,700+ seat Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. With nearly 16,000 pipes, it is the largest European-built organ in America and one of the largest organs in the world. It has been featured on the internationally televised Hour of Power, making it one of the most recognizable organs in the world. After three decades, time, sunlight, heat and water have caused damage to the organ, which is now in need of a total restoration. An “Organ Restoration Committee” led by Monsignor Arthur Holquin, pastor of the Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano, has been designated to oversee the restoration of the organ. The restoration process will include removing the organ from the Cathedral, transporting the organ to the Fratelli Ruffatti workshop in Padua, Italy, restoring and reinstalling the organ in the future Christ Cathedral. The expected completion date is at the dedication of Christ Cathedral in 2015. As part of the For Christ Forever $100 million capital campaign, Orange Catholic Foundation is working to raise $2 million to refurbish the Hazel Wright Memorial organ to its original high performance condition. Donations may be made online and more information is available at the For Christ Forever web site. Gifts should be designated for “Organ Restoration”–100% of the amounts donated will support this important and historic project

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Los Altos Church Gets New Rodgers Organ

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Los Altos, is blessed with a wonderful worship space that is pleasing both to the eyes and the ears. A 2-manual Rodgers from the 70’s was moved from its former location, which is now the Fellowship Hall, to the new Sanctuary when it was completed in 1996. Having served the congregation well for over 40 years, it is understandable that the organ selection committee would recommend the purchase of a new Rodgers, when funds became available. A new Rodgers 3-manual 588 was installed in May.

Lynda Alexander, Organist

Church Exterior

The Main organ emanates from a chamber space nearly 30 feet above the altar and speaks down the long axis of the room. A secondary sound system, which can be controlled from the console at the will of the organist, supports both the Choir and Contemporary Musicians. In a room constructed of hard surfaces, the organ enjoys a space that is kind to sound. The church is doing well under the leadership of Pastor David Schick, and Lynda Alexander, Organist.

Church Interior

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