Though significantly reduced in size from the 10,000+ word original, this version that I edited for Episcopal Café is, in many respects, more appropriate for American Dirt. The article now filters the topic of classical pipe organs almost exclusively through the lens of the instrument’s relation to The Episcopal Church of the USA: the social and cultural implications on shifting liturgical styles, as well as how the most dedicated churches (such as the one pictured above) actually re-oriented the physical structure around a new organ. This response contrasts sharply with the majority of churches in the US, which either leave their organs neglected in a dusty corner or have gotten rid of them completely. Because the Episcopal Church has shown particular devotion to the instrument, a disproportionate number of my organist interviewees work for the denomination. So it was fitting that The Episcopal Café would contact me on the topic. And I’m happy to help any church that keeps the tradition alive, against the stiff competition of contemporary praise bands, which–as many organists recognize–also has its viable place in church services.
As always, comments are welcome, both here and at The Episcpoal Café.