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.

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With "Broad City" Co-Star Abbi Jacobson

What do Michelle Obama, Anna Wintour and Michael Jordan carry in their bags? Abbi Jacobson imagines the things you might find in her new illustrated book, "Carry This Book." We talk to the "Broad City" co-star about what you can learn from the contents of bags—and her success creating and starring in the hit Comedy Central show.

WAMU 88.5

New Approaches To Tackling Local Youth Hunger

The First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and other regional leaders are exploring new, innovative ways to combat local food insecurity.

WAMU 88.5

What Washington Really Thinks of the Rest of America

Kojo explores the surprising findings of a Johns Hopkins survey on what D.C.'s federal workers and unelected policy makers really think of the American public.


Researchers Build 'Nightmare Machine'

An MIT project rolled out just in time for Halloween uses artificial intelligence to generate horror images.

Leave a Comment

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