Pipe organ ready to sing – By Faith Wismer

Students involved in The Master’s University music program have had various experiences furthering knowledge and talent in their own areas of expertise. Although TMU has always had the resources to accommodate student needs, the university has acquired a new and exciting addition to the music department. 

TMU has been blessed with the addition of a pipe organ. Music department faculty member, Jennifer Ehlen, is personally in awe of the instrument’s complexity. 

“It’s so precise with the various pipes it contains” Ehlen stated. The organ has been in the school’s possession since the summer of 2020, but the opportunity to use it did not come until the current spring semester of 2021. “When it was delivered, it came in 20 boxes and took an entire week to assemble,” Ehlen said. 

The university was also presented with the donation of a platform which had to be custom-made for the organ. Wheels were even placed on the bottom of the platform to allow for easier accessibility and movability. 

“It had to be made to be able to move it to different places in the hall,” Ehlen said.

This was important to avoid possible complications involving space and placement in the Music Recital Hall and to provide enough room for any future concerts or events.

This organ was originally built in the 1970’s by Frank Gehry, the same man who built the organ that resides in the Disney Concert Hall. At that time, its worth would have been estimated at around $172,000. Its present-day value is much higher. Dr. Paul Plew, dean of the School of Music, is excited by the beauty of this musical instrument. 

“The pipe organ expresses the depth of music that is required for one to carry the labeled musician. Depth meaning, this instrument dates back 400-500 years, dating back to Bach’s time, which were extremely radical times,” Plew said. “Being a school of music, you have to offer the best of everything and I am very excited to have one of this scale.” 

The future of TMU’s Music Department will only continue to progress due to this fascinating addition. Plew is excited to see this instrument in use for years to come.

Both Plew and Ben Mason, the director of instrumental studies, made sure to credit Freddie Lu McGinnis, the woman who donated the instrument. Plew claimed she “specifically wanted to give the organ to TMU, despite having other options.” 

The organ had to be disassembled in order to be brought from McGinnis’ home to the university, where Disney’s Gehry reassembled it. 

As for the future of this organ in the music department, it is already being put to good use. Master’s is “putting out a recording and video of ‘It Is Well,’” Plew declared. “It is the premier of the organ with Chorale singing the famous Christian song, while Mason is at console of the organ playing.” 

This masterpiece was recorded Monday, April 5, and will be released to the TMU community soon. 

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