There could be as many as 592 pipes playing at the West Tisbury Congregational Church on Sunday, Dec. 16, at the 50th anniversary celebration of the church organ beginning at 3 p.m. And among those in the audience will be the man who built the organ, Fritz Noack, of Noack Organ Company, now located in Georgetown. Mr. Noack was 25 years old then and this was his fourth original organ.
The organ was installed on Sunday, Dec. 12, 1962, a gift of the late Jane Newhall, and dedicated four days later on Dec. 16, according to Dionis (Dinny) Montrowl, chairman of the church council.
David Rhoderick, the church’s interim music director, will play the instrument and said he is honored to be a part of the moment. Featured organist Phil Dietterich of Oak Bluffs will also put his fingers and feet to the keys.
“This is a very pure unadulterated traditional style church pipe organ,” Mr. Rhoderick said. “It is true to a Baroque style instrument, played in the 17th and 18th century.”
Every part of the organ is made the old fashioned way, with wood, metal and leather.
“Listen for the chiff,” said Mr. Rhoderick regarding the organ. “That is what purists call the ‘breathiness’ of the instrument.” Chiff is that brief fraction of a second when the finger first touches the key and the air starts to move through the pipe. “This is an all pipe instrument,” Mr. Rhoderick said.
The keyboard is made of hardwood (no ivory keys) and each key is true to the color of wood with which it was made.
Mrs. Montrowl said she grew up in the church, listening to the music. In 1976 the church organ was played at her wedding, when she married her husband Gary. In 1997, when her grandmother, Dionis Coffin Riggs, died it was played at the memorial service. It played tribute to her father, Bill Fielder, when he died in 2009.
On Sunday, there will be a debut of a new piece: O Magnum Mysterium, a piece of Christmas music written by Dorian Lopes of Vineyard Haven. Mr. Lopes, a graduate of the regional high school in 1998, wrote the piece earlier this year.
The concert is free and a reception will follow. Donations for the church organ maintenance will be much appreciated.