On Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m., Christ Church will formally inaugurate its new organ as the church choir and friends sing Faure’s “Requiem” during an All Saints’ Day Eucharist. The half-million-dollar organ, delivered and assembled in August, was built by Casavant Freres of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. All are welcome at the service, which observes a traditional Christian day to remember saints known and unknown, past and present.
The church, located at 620 G St. SE, is an active part of the Hill community, hosting numerous community groups and activities. The parish contributes to local feeding programs, supports a monthly Laundry Love to assist neighbors with clothes washing, and offers a lively education program for all ages. The Rev. Cara Spaccarelli has been rector at Christ Church since 2010.
The new organ replaces an instrument, in place since 1972, which was a composite based on a 1901 Hook & Hastings organ that had belonged to St. Cyprian’s Roman Catholic Church on the Hill. The new organ is Opus 3914 of Casavant Freres, which has been building organs since 1879. Its first product, Opus 1, remains in use at a church in Montreal.
Opus 3914 finds a historic setting at Christ Church, which was organized in 1794. The central part of the church building is the second-oldest structure in public use within the original city of Washington, which was bounded on the north by what is now Florida Avenue. The church has had an organ at least as far back as 1823, and among its musicians once had the March King and director of the Marine Band, John Philip Sousa.
The French composer and organist Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) has had wide influence in music and is often viewed as bridging Romanticism and Modernism. His much-loved requiem, first performed in 1888, was left in several versions by Faure himself. Christ Church choir will sing the edition of the work by the English composer and conductor John Rutter.