Congregation Hopes Messiah Will Help Save Instrument | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Congregation Hopes Messiah Will Help Save Instrument

Play associated audio
The Letourneau organ which was damaged is impossibly complex, with more than 3,000 pipes.
Jessica Gould
The Letourneau organ which was damaged is impossibly complex, with more than 3,000 pipes.

Congregants at a D.C. church hope a special performance of Handel's Messiah will help raise funds to repair an organ damaged during this summer's earthquake.

Choir Master Owen Burdick says the Letourneau organ is the heart of the music program at the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes in downtown, D.C.

"Well, I love it. It’s beautiful. It’s like my baby, you know," says Burdick, of the $1.5 million Letourneau organ, which is his pride and joy. "There are over 3,000 whistles in there. They vary in size from the smallest being the size of your pinky to pipes over 30 feet long."

Together, Burdick and his organ make beautiful music. Or, at least they did, until an aftershock from the earthquake dislodged 150 pounds of plaster that came crashing down on the instrument.

"And that's what finished her off," recalls Burdick.

But Burdick isn't giving up. This weekend, the church is hosting a special performance to raise funds for the organ. He estimates it will cost $140,000 dollars to repair the instrument. So he’s counting on the Messiah to help.

"I'm thinking it's going to be a wonderful performance, and I'm really hoping people will come and join us," he says.

The performance -- replete with period instruments and 21 singers -- will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
 

NPR

Not My Job: Comedian Jenny Slate Gets Quizzed On Jennifer Lopez

Slate has rocketed to fame with her online film series Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and the movie Obvious Child — but there are some other famous Jennifers out there ...
NPR

Antarctic Holiday: A Christmas Feast In The Loneliest Spot On Earth

For Dr. Gavin Francis, Christmas Eve marked the start of a year-long stay in an icy research base 8,700 miles from home. In this "empire of ice and isolation," he says, food is essential to morale.
NPR

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

The secretive regime denies any involvement with the Sony Pictures hack and says the U.S. must allow it to help find the real culprit. Or else.
NPR

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they'll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony's withdrawal of The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.