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

A Puzzle With Everything, Including The Kitchen Sink

Each word provided is an anagram of something you might see in a kitchen. For example, "skin" is an anagram of "sink."
NPR

'Into The Wild' Author Tries Science To Solve Toxic Seed Mystery

Jon Krakauer has long been haunted by how Christopher McCandless died in the Alaskan wilderness. In a scientific journal, he and a chemist show that the seeds McCandless consumed can contain a toxin.
NPR

5 Things You Should Know About Carly Fiorina

The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard once had a stint filing and typing for the company. She also dropped out of law school, survived breast cancer and once ran a campaign ad featuring demon sheep.
NPR

3-D Printers Bring Historic Instruments Back To The Future

You just can't stick a modern mouthpiece on an antique saxophone and get the right sound. The answer could be in the lab.

Leave a Comment

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