The Austin Organ Co. is at work in the church as I write this article. They are “voicing” some of the new sounds we’ve just added to the organ so that they will balance just right with our acoustic and the many other sounds we enjoy. The beauty of such a large instrument is the degree of subtlety and the variety of sound. We have a new Harp stop, new strings, a new flute, and more; the remaining 6000+ pipes will soon be regulated to bring the organ back to its original majestic sound. Routine tuning adjusts many pipes several times a year, and this project allows us to look at the big picture of how all those pipes relate to each other.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Wyncote Foundation, we have been able to replace the control system that was hit by lightning several years ago. Electronics don’t enjoy that very much! The new “Virtuoso” system provides advanced memory functions and its fiber-optic connections are virtually impervious to lightning.

The refurbished Chancel console boasts new keyboards, pedal keys, stop controls, and lighting. The beautiful, carved case was repaired and refinished. We’ve brought electrical systems up to current code and replaced a few other moving parts that were wearing out after decades of good work. We still have a few steps to go, but our marvelous instrument will soon be better than new!

Make the most of all this by inviting some friends to join us for Richard Elliott’s concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 24. Rick is a brilliant musician, and this is an exciting way to introduce someone to Bethesda. General seating is available for $25, and the Music Supporters’ price of $200 includes an opportunity to meet the artist at a 6:30 p.m. champagne reception. Have a listen to this entertaining piece of genius.

Tickets for the concert are available at

Stuart Forster