Music Ministry/Choir

28. The Second Vatican Council stated emphatically that choirs must be diligently promoted while ensuring that ‘the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs…” 1

2.A cry from deep within our being, music is a way for God to lead us to the realm of higher things. As St. Augustine says, “Singing is for the one who loves.” Music is therefore a sign of God’s love for us and of our love for him. But unless music sounds, it is not music, and whenever it sounds, it is accessible to others. By its very nature song has both an individual and a communal dimension. Thus, it is no wonder that singing together in church expresses so well the sacramental presence of God to his people. 2

All over people are making new friends from different walks of life.  They are breaking down barriers and standing shoulder to shoulder.  How and why are they doing this?  They are joining choirs!

It is great love when you see the singers enjoy themselves and being moved by the sound they are creating.  The enthusiasm a choir has is infectious and can sweep a whole room of people along on their ride.  Keeping the atmosphere fun and flowing can create for some excellent sessions not to mention some glorious harmonies!

Joining a choir isn’t just fun; it’s actually good for you!  At its most basic level it is good for keeping your brain active.  Counting!  You have to keep count or at least be able to concentrate and watch your director for the beats and when to come in, when to get softer and when to get louder.  It’s great for your memory too!  All those words and harmonies can seem daunting at first but with regular attendance they soon become second nature.  Harmonies become muscle memory and words are just there waiting to pass your lips.  Your director will always give you little pointers to help you during a song so you can relax and let the music flow.

Not only does your brain benefit from all that concentration practice your mental health and well-being are boosted too.  Music has the power to break down barriers and join a group of people as one entity.  No matter how much you love your work and your family we all need time to relax.  Some relax by laying in the bath or going for a stroll, others go down to their local village or church and sing their troubles away!  I agree with the quote “Music is what feelings sound like”.  It’s cheap therapy!

People often say “aren’t choirs full of old ladies and church goers?”  They have a vision of a room full of blue rinses holding hymn books and singing choral numbers from the 1800s.  Not so for the SRA Choir!  They are an eclectic bunch of human beings; a wonderful array of different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, ages and abilities.  Yes, there are old ladies and there are church goers but there are also, young adults, nurses, engineers, teachers, artists and secretaries!

Singing releases oxytocin (that chemical that manages stress and anxiety) and singing in a group increases trust and bonding.  Singing with choirs has seen many through losses of people in their life, stressful times workwise, financial problems and general down days.  Musicians soon become aware that by singing songs they evoke the feelings like when they lost a friend or the other extreme when they first looked at their newborn.  Music takes you to places that you can’t explain.  The answer to how it does this lies within harmony.  All the different sounds created by the different voices come together and combine to light up the choir and create a mass; to quote a fellow choir director “wall of sound”.  Singer’s heartbeats in a choir have been known to become synchronized!  That’s amazing!

If you are looking for something new to try and feel like lifting your spirits then go on and join the choir.  It’s the perfect drug and completely legal and risk free!

Contact: Dr.  Nancy Deacon – musicdirector@straphaelarchangel.org

314-352- 8100 x220

 

1 Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), no.  114.

2 Sing to the Lord (2007) USCCB.

The Wicks Organ Company started in the early 1900's on the second floor of a jewelry and watch-making store in Highland, Illinois. The local Catholic priest had asked John Wick to study organ and become the church organist. Soon the parish wanted a new pipe organ to replace their aging reed organ, so John Wick, with the help of his brothers, Louis and Adolph, started to work. Using their talents as a watchmaker, a cabinet maker, and a jeweler, the three Wicks created a small mechanical action instrument that successfully met the needs of their church.

It wasn't long before nearby churches heard of their work, and wanted the same for their growing parishes. The Wicks created more of their instruments, and interest in organs built right here in Illinois grew. By 1908, the three Wicks incorporated the Wicks Organ Company, and began producing pipe organs for homes and churches in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and eventually almost every state in the country.

The Wicks initially used all mechanical action, but with the advent of electricity and electric blowers, began to experiment with electro-pneumatic actions. There are surviving examples of their work today, but John Wick thought that surely an organ could be operated purely electrically, avoiding the difficulties of pneumatic actions. Such pneumatic actions require frequent total releathering, and are susceptible to dirt, air pollution, changes in weather, moisture, and the winding and layout of the organ must be designed with the action in mind, not the pipework, or the amount of space available to the organ. When difficulties do occur in these actions, repair and service can be incredibly difficult.

Wick’s Organ – 1968
Highland, Illinois
11 Ranks – Opus 4753

2 Manual and Pedal Pipe Organ
Manual Compass CC to C4 – 61 notes
Pedal Compass CCC to G – 32 notes
Console: Draw knob – built to AGO requirements
Great (Exposed)
8’ Principal
8’ Bourdon
4’ Octave
4’ Nachthorn
2’ Flachflöte
II Mixture (1⅓) (19 & 22)
8’ Trompette (Swell) 

12 Pipes
61 Pipes
61 Pipes
61 Pipes
61 Pipes
61 Pipes

Transept – Blank (North Wall) Incomplete

Chimes – North and South Walls of Sanctuary

Swell (Expression)
8’ Rohrflöte
8’ Viola
4’ Gemshorn
2 ⅔’ Nasat
2’ Blockflöte
8’ Trompette
Tremolo

61 Pipes
61 Pipes
61 Pipes
61 Pipes
24 Pipes
61 Pipes
Pedal
16’ Spitzprincipal
16’ Lieblich Gedeckt
8’ Spitzprincipal
8’ Gedeckt (Great)
4’ Choral Bass
2’ Hohlflöte (Great)
16’ Posuane
8’ Trompette (Swell)
4’ Clarion (Swell)

12 Pipes
12 Pipes
32 Pipes

12 Pipes

12 Pipes
Couplers
Great to Great 4’
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great 16’
Swell to Great 8’
Swell to Great 4’

Swell to Swell 16’
Swell Union
Swell to Swell 4’
Transept to Great
Transept to Swell
Transept to Pedala
 
Combination Pistons
Four General Pistons
General Cancel