Inside the Campaign with Timothy Strand
Tim Strand has been the Gloria Dei Music Director for 10 years. Our Rise, O Church campaign will help Gloria Dei get a new pipe organ, which means Tim’s musical talent will shine even more in our worship and music programs. By the way, Tim is the composer of Hymn 548 (ELW), Rise, O Church, like Christ Arisen.
Tim, what excites you about the Rise, O Church campaign?
A new organ has been a dream for so many years. In fact, the first real discussions on it were 20 years prior to my employment here, which means Gloria Dei talked about this for 30 years. Finally, we’re in a position to not only do it, but do it well. So that’s exciting!
Additionally, I’m excited to have an organ to match the vitality, energy and beauty of this space. A new organ and chancel space add another level of welcome for not only our musicians, but for our whole community. The limitations of the current chancel space have made it impossible for chamber orchestras, community orchestras and larger choirs to be a part of our programs here. The organ and reconfiguration of our chancel space is a wonderful combination for continued growth at Gloria Dei.
We’re hearing a lot about a Rank Organ. What’s a Rank and what does a 57-Rank organ mean?
With 61 notes on the keyboard, ranks are the way we count the “voices” or “colors and sounds” of the organ. We’ve had 36, so moving to 57 will paint a more beautiful depth of sound in the space.
Some people think the organ is loud enough. Do we really need more volume?
It isn’t necessarily about volume as much as it is the shading, subtlety and variety of sounds the organ can make. That makes it possible to do more things and spreads the sound more evenly through the room. The new organ allows greater subtlety, which will help us accompany our children’s choir so we can better hear their voices.
How has music changed over your tenure here?
Music has changed greatly since I first came to Gloria Dei. I would say we use the grand piano for more hymns, especially some of the ethnic ones we sing. The addition of Paul has been great as he broadens our music and is just really fun to have on the team! The failure of parts of the organ made us look creatively at different hymns and ways to modify them – which may be a good thing.
Using the piano more for accompaniment of the choirs has been fun, yet when it comes to a packed church, an organ better leads, and envelops, the congregation than a piano can. There’s just no comparison.
Anything else we should know?
The specifications for the space our organ occupies now were based on the organ from the original church, brought here in 1952. When we purchased a new organ in 1964, we did so in the confines of the space we had. Doing that allowed us a lower upfront cost to add the instrument, which led to continued limitations and modifications. Some areas we are no longer able to fix as they break.
In the second half of 2019, I would say we had 10+ service calls or repairs done, including one the Friday before Christmas Eve. Fortunately, the technicians were available for emergency modifications and service, or the organ would have literally been unavailable for Christmas worship.
We’ve done considerable planning for guest musicians to enable them to work around our system, and we’ve had weddings where the organ goes out. Juxtapose those situations with the vibrancy of our calling for worship and community and I can’t help but think how much more we can accomplish with an instrument suited for this space. And space suited for this organ. It will be a relief to see it come to fruition. It is like a new foundation for Gloria Dei, going even further.