Richard Gibala, music director at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington and music coordinator for the diocese, plays at the new organ console during this year's chrism Mass.
As the principal instrument of the "mother church" of the diocese, the console was "in nearly constant use and showing signs of wear," said Richard Gibala, cathedral music director and music coordinator for the Arlington Diocese.
The old keys had become uneven and some were harder to press.
The new console is computer generated, so it's "more efficient," Gibala
It also has four instead of the previous three manuals, or keyboards, along with extra stops.
Stops are small knobs that correspond to a set of pipes, each representing a unique sound.
There is now "more flexibility while playing," said Gibala
, adding that the music also is enhanced by the new acoustics in the cathedral.
During renovations wood paneling on the walls was replaced with granite.
The original cathedral console was installed with the pipes when the current church was built in 1961.
After the diocese was established in 1974 and the church became a cathedral, additional pipes were added and the console was "tweaked a bit," said Gibala
Over the years the organ has received regular maintenance and care, but the new console "is by far the biggest improvement" he
The decision to replace the console rather than the entire organ was partially financial.
An organ would cost more than $2 million; the console was $175,000.
compared the organ to an old mansion: "You can tear it down and start over, neglect it or you can maintain it," he
Father Rippy and Gibala
have opted for the third route.
"I believe it is a magnificent instrument," Gibala
said, "and it can serve the cathedral for years to come."
organ console, pipe organ, Cathedral of St. Thomas More, liturgical music, Richard Gibala