We have a very promising opportunity, which has been presented as a solution to our organ situation. Since it is still evolving, several upcoming articles will detail general options and respective advantages and disadvantages of each.
As stated in Fr. Britto's post, the Pastoral Council has agreed with our suggestion to replace our organ with another pipe organ.
While digital organs are a possibility, they are not necessarily a wise long-term investment. In a digital organ, the sounds are sampled from pipe organs, but they lack the breath and vibration of a true pipe organ. In a pipe organ, the power and speech comes from the vibration of air in each pipe (column). In a digital organ, the sound comes from speakers. A worship space such as ours would require MANY speakers--which would be an eyesore. In addition, the quality of sound is just not optimal and would not do as fine a job of accompanying our choir and our congregation.
Purchasing a digital organ is much like purchasing a new car. Upon installation, it begins to depreciate. Like a computer, a digital organ can only be upgraded so many times before the technology becomes obsolete. While this choice appears initially to be less burdensome, it lacks the vision to solve this problem once and for all. This choice could not guarantee that a future generation would not incur burden in undergoing yet another organ project. Without a true pipe organ, it would be a challenge to attract and retain skilled organists to help continue the fine choral tradition of St. Paul of the Cross Church.
The piano has tremendous expressive capabilities, but it is limited in timbre (sound color). While it does work for some of our more contemporary hymns and as part of an ensemble, it is just not as suitable for accompanying an entire congregation. The 5'2' lowest bass string on our piano can not give the same foundation for congregational singing as can a 16 ft. pedal stop on the organ. As a matter of physics, we would need a 9ft. grand to fill this space, and even then it would lack the orchestral variety of a pipe organ.
Our next lesson will begin a description of all of the components of a pipe organ and what kind of specifications we require for our worship space and choral needs. No parishioner should have to endure an organ project more than once in a lifetime. Our goal is to install an organ which will last the lifetime of the building. Our prayer and objective is to accomplish this project in a manner which will inspire generations to come and in which we will be good stewards of our financial resources.