The power and majesty of the 20-ton Iglesia Ni Cristo pipe organ
MANILA, Philippines – Nikki Mhar, a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), was among the thousands who witnessed the moment when the newly installed, grand pipe organ was first played on that early morning of July 5.
It was a special day at the Central Temple. Inside the vast space, the hymns sung by the choir blended beautifully with the melodies coming from the pipe organ.
Nikki says that she felt "deeply honored" to be there. She shares that feeling with many others who worship at the same venue.
The 20-ton pipe organ is the newest permanent fixture at the INC main temple located along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
Considered one of a kind in the country, this powerful instrument is composed of three separate pipe organs—one at the center of the temple with a main console, and two smaller ones on the side wings, with its own consoles.
On its website, the A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, which made the organ, noted what was unique about the organ: “several divisions of the organ have organ chambers with contiguous openings into side chapels, which can be closed off from the main Temple to allow the organ to also be playable as two separate, albeit smaller, two-manual instruments.”
The US-based company was contracted to build the custom-made pipe organ in 2012. Taking 14 months to complete, the process is composed of many steps, from the design stage, to the actual construction, to the transportation of the pipes from the US, and finally, to the installation of the instrument.
“The making of this pipe organ takes a lot of concentration, a lot of study,” said Arthur E. Schlueter, Jr, founder and president of the A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, in an interview with INC TV.
The INC's main temple had to be renovated to accommodate the 3,162 individual pipes – the longest of the pipes measures 23 feet, while the shortest is only 8 inches long. The variation of the sizes allows it to produce different types of sound.
Bro. Genesis Rivera, an organ player, told INC TV in an interview that the sound of the pipe organ is different from a regular electronic organ. It took about two years to learn the techniques.
Rivera said that there is power and majesty in the sound of a pipe organ, leading the choir to become more inspired to sing.
The INC administration’s purpose in building the pipe organ is to “further raise the level of worship services in its main temple, and to praise God with a higher form of hymn singing,” as its centennial draws near, says eaglenews.ph.
The pipe organ was first publicly played during a special worship service that was officiated by Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo, Executive Minister of INC.
The Central Temple has 7,000 seating capacity while the Tabernacle building nearby has 4,000. To provide support to the grand venue, the organ maker made use of “generous scales and higher wind pressures.”
Among those who attended the special worship were the makers of the organ led by Schlueter, who flew in from the US.
“The first basically public performance of the instrument with the choir and the congregation, and the organ …exceeded our expectations as the organ makers,” Schlueter told INC TV.
He added that he is grateful and honored to be part of the company that built the organ.
Iglesia Ni Cristo will be celebrating its grand centennial anniversary on July 27, 2014. – Rappler.com
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Che Gurrobat is the blogger behind backpackingpilipinas.com. She founded the literacy project, BookSail, and spent the last 5 years traveling 80 (of the 81) provinces of the Philippines