By Graeme Stager
A group of members and guests under the leadership of Centre president Angelique Po enjoyed an organ crawl to 3 instruments on Saturday, 22 February 2020.
First visit was to the 1950 Casavant at Knox United. Originally 10 stops, 7 more ranks were added 6 years later. Organist Madelene Klassen played 5 pieces to showcase various voices and choruses. Despite the chamber being on one side of the chancel and speaking sideways through a screen, the sound in the nave was surprisingly present.
Next, we headed to St John’s Shaughnessy (Anglican) to experience the largest instrument of the day, hosted by organist Michael Dirk. He explained that the original second-hand Este y was replaced in 1968 by a much larger 3-manual direct-electric Hallman. It was the first installation in Vancouver having an antiphonal division (rear of nave) with separate console. Extensive upgrades over the years, with more in the works, have improved the reliability, functionality, and sound of the instrument.
Following lunch, our final destination was Angelique’s own organ at Central Presbyterian. A 13-rank Casavant from the mid-70’s, it speaks down the long axis of the room, in this case across from the left, as the sanctuary is about twice as wide as it is deep. It was agreed the best sound was heard from the right side, and for recitals, Angelique has the chairs arranged to favour that acoustic.
Thanks to the organizers for an interesting and enjoyable day getting to know three quite different instruments.