Originally published in the Summer 2016 Quarterly Explorer
Updates provided by Bob Gallagher, Bill Rusher, & RC Moore
At the end of April, I drove to Allentown, Pennsylvania and Reisterstown, Maryland in order to assess the progress on our Moller pipe organ and our pianos, respectively. The trip was both encouraging and inspiring. On April 25, I spent the day at Emery Brothers (organ restorers) for a meeting with our consultant, Jonathan Ambrosino, and with members of the shop crew. Both Jonathan and I agreed that there is significant progress on the organ and that we can expect re-installation to take place sometime in September. We were all enthusiastic about the whole project, and members of the crew are all deeply devoted to their work. I was impressed by all of the explanations of the repair process.
There is some progress on the Sanctuary lighting project. Looking at the picture on the right, can you tell which light is the new LED fixture? It’s the one on the right. We think that the mockup fixtures that have been installed in the upper part of the of ceiling of the Sanctuary are a good match to the look of the existing fixtures, but will be a brighter enhancement overall for lighting the room. The challenge right now is to find a good match for the “down” lighting or “spotlights” up front for the pulpit, lectern, choir area, and the altar. The mockup fixture that we tried out for those areas was not acceptable, mostly due to size and construction, so with the help of our lighting designer we will find an alternative that will work and look to meet our needs and standards. This is a small setback, but we should be able to complete all of the lighting upgrades this summer.
The sound system installation progressed on schedule from its start March 28 to first Sunday operational status May 1. The initial Sunday service, while successful, did identify areas for adjustment and alteration to better focus sound to all areas of the Sanctuary. The system capabilities provide ample opportunity for adjustments and the technicians will and have worked diligently to bring us the best quality speech the system can deliver. This process will be ongoing until we reach an optimization status.
The system includes a hearing impaired component which contains 20 available units for handy pick up in the Narthex. The Wi-Fi system covers the entire seating area and can be utilized in two different formats: an over the ear attachment or a loop system worn over the neck for those with implant devices. Those that feel this additional aid would be helpful are encouraged to experience the added clarity.
With the new system came the capabilities to record not only sound but to also video services in the Sanctuary. The Communications Committee will have new opportunities for use of the recording options as the sound operators become familiar with console operation including the camera and its capabilities.
Many thanks to everyone for the support provided as this long term project was undertaken in conjunction with the sanctuary capital campaign by the Building Property Council.
On April 26, I stopped at the shop of David Hughes, Registered Piano Technician, to take a good look at our Steinway B, which was dismantled at that point. Although we received an excellent on-site inspection and report on the condition of this piano from David Campbell last year, David Hughes was able to make further suggestions for improvement of that piano based on his examination of the piano “in pieces.” First of all, he had measured and tested the soundboard, and it turns out that it is in excellent condition and does not need replacement – a savings. On the other hand, he determined that the keys (originals were not ivory) and the keybed needed replacing so that the fulcrum of the keybed could be adjusted towards a better position (closer to the hammers). This will provide a much improved touch for the pianist. The hammers, dampers, and strings will all be replaced, as contracted. Stay tuned for news on the Baldwin piano. I look forward to that wonderful instrument reaching its full potential, also!