Thursday, July 10, 2014

Iglesia Ni Cristo, 20-ton world-class pipe organ.

Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo officiated the July 5 special worship service which was attended by more than 11,000 people at the INC Central Temple.

Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo on Saturday July 5, 2014 officiated a special worship service at the INC Central Temple in Quezon City, where a newly installed 20-ton world-class pipe organ was played for the first time.

The special pipe organ, custom-made by the world-renowned A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company based in Georgia, took 14 months to install. 

The INC’s main temple on Commonwealth Avenue had to be renovated to house the 3,162 special individual pipes, which were packed and shipped from the United States. The longest of the pipes measures 23 feet long, while the shortest is eight inches.

The INC contracted the pipe organ company in 2012 to study, build and install a special pipe organ at the Central Temple, with the intention of further raising the level of worship experience through hymn singing and musical accompaniment, especially as the centennial draws near. 

The custom-made pipe organ comes from Georgia, USA, and will now be a permanent fixture enhancing religious services at the Iglesia ni Cristo’s Central Temple on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

“Yes, it’s very rare, because it’s the only one,” said Arthur Schlueter, founder and president of the A.E. Schlueter, who flew from the US to personally witness the event three weeks before the INC Centennial on July 27, 2014

The instrument is considered the first of its kind as it is actually made up of three separate organs—one at the main nave with a main console and two smaller ones built at the temple’s left and side wings with its own consoles.

Dr. Genesis Rivera, a church organist who is also a doctor, said it was a great blessing for him that he was the first one to play the pipe organ in that special worship service.
Saturday’s special service, which started at 6 a.m., began with the singing of new hymns of praises accompanied by the pipe organ. Church organist Genesis Rivera, a doctor, was the first to play the instrument as part of worship. 

Rivera said the sound he produced playing had “power and majesty,” which was very different from that of an ordinary organ, hence the choir members became more inspired in their singing. 

“The first public performance of the instrument with the choir and the congregation—and the organ itself—exceeded our expectations as the organ makers. It was a fabulous blend in every way,” Schlueter said.

Peter Duys, one of his senior staff members, said he could not be “more proud of the organ and the way it blended with the choir.”

Schleuter noted that in other US churches where his company had built and installed pipe organs, the instrument serves as the centerpiece and the choir is only secondary.

But with the INC pipe organ, it was the other way around, he said, since its makers designed it in such a way that it would “complement the choir” and not overpower it.

“The choir leads the congregation. So in designing the organ, we were really careful that we do not voice an organ that it so strong that it overpowers the choir,” Schleuter said.
Arthur E. Sclueter, Jr., (left) president and founder of A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, with a member of his senior staff Peter Duys, attended the worship service of the Iglesia Ni Cristo where the pipe organ they built was first publicly played. In the background is one of the pipe organ panels. The INC Central Temple pipe organ consisted of 3,162 individual pipes. (Photo grabbed from INCTV video)

For Schleuter and Duys, the experience of attending the first public performance of the pipe organ with the choir and the congregation was a very unique one.

“You can imagine, I’ve worked with about 15 different religious denominations in the United States, but this is probably the highest level of ability on the part of the congregation in singing,” he said.
The main console of the INC Central Temple pipe organ.

“We are so grateful and so honored to have built the organ,” said Schleuter, who said he would like to witness the grand centennial celebration of the INC on July 27, 2014

I will set my schedule to attend in the worship service in the Central to hear the majestic sound of the pipe organ in the Central Temple.

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