Exquisite Masterpieces

by Rhonda Furr, Convention Coordinator

In today’s society, where high volume production and instant gratification often seem more valued than time-intensive artistic masterpieces, it is easy to overlook the treasures around us. Many of our cities are blessed with masterpieces. Like the priceless treasures that fill our fine arts and historical museums, many of the pipe organs we play offer magnificent testimony to the time-honored tradition of custom organ building. Pipe organs that are 400 years old still function in European churches and chapels. If well-maintained, our own instruments will be inspiring musicians and listeners hundreds of years from now.

Houston is particularly blessed to have many pipe organs conceived and created by master-craftsmen. Those of us fortunate enough to have been involved with the design and installation of a new pipe organ know the thrill of watching the birth of these magnificent instruments. My own experience was at HBU where Canadian organ builder, Létourneau Limitée, hand-crafted 3261 pipes and thousands of moving parts over a two-year period to create an exquisite sounding instrument. Many of our students, faculty, and staff were a part of history as we unloaded our instrument from two eighteen-wheelers, yet few watched these master-craftsmen assemble, voice and tune our remarkable instrument. The care and pride with which this Canadian team worked was a testimony to the value they placed on this work of art.

The HBU Smith Organ, with its breath-taking façade, will be one of the featured instruments at the 2016 National Convention. Other equally stunning masterpieces will be featured in recitals, worship services and competitions. Join us in Houston, where the timeless craft of organ-building will be showcased through our city’s many exquisite pipe organs.