“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to humankind to proclaim the Word of God through Music.”
Music has always been an important part of life at Central. In the context of worship we experience God’s grace through word and music, whether through the voice of our magnificent Casavant organ, our Steinway piano, our gallery Van Daalen tracker organ, our many outstanding instrumentalists or the dozens and dozens of individuals who make up our choirs – the gift of the song remains the same: Soli Deo Gloria! – “To God alone be glory!”
The Central Choir
Central’s ministry of music is truly multifaceted. During the month of September, we invite you to add your voice to our song by joining The Central Choir. For more information, contact, Cantor Mark Sedio.
The Casavant Organ
Central’s principal organ was built by Casavant Frères, Lté in 1963 (opus 2722). It consists of 78 speaking stops and 108 ranks. The five divisions contain 5,781 pipes. The great, positiv, and pedal divisions are free-standing, located behind the altar. Expressive divisions are contained in the arches at either side of the chancel, swell at the left and choir at the right.
The organ underwent a full restoration by Casavant Frères, ltée, which was completed in February 2008, including replacement of all leathers, pouches, reworking of collapsing pipe toes, boots, mouths; upgraded SSL (128 levels of 40) and recording possibilities. The instrument is now in excellent condition.
The 47 bells of the carillon rang for the first time at Christmas, 2005. The bell tower was dedicated on Palm Sunday, 2006, to the glory of God. The story is well known. With the Great Depression looming in 1927, the people of Central Lutheran Church barely had enough money to finish the new cathedral-like sanctuary. The bell tower, designed as part of the new structure in 1926, would have to wait. The wait would span generations. It would be nearly 80 years before the bell tower would rise 149 feet—thanks to the anonymous gift of a Central member. That gift also provided for a carillon of 47 bells, cast in Annecy, France by the Fonderie Paccard, a 250 year old bell-making firm.
Today, that gift to Central is also a landmark gift to the city. On occasion it is played manually on its authentic carillon keyboard up in the playing cabin on the 6th floor of the bell tower. Our annual summer series of live carillon concerts, feature members of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and other carillonners from around the world.
A Minnesota rarity
A carillon, as officially described by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, is “a musical instrument consisting of at least two octaves of bells arranged in chromatic series and played from a keyboard permitting control of expression through variation of touch.” As such Central’s carillon of 47 bells is one of but three in Minnesota. The other two are at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester (56 bells) and House of Hope Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul (49 bells). There are also five of what are termed “cast bell instruments with electric keyboards” at Breck School (23 bells), North Hennepin Community College (25) and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral (24) in Minneapolis; Schonlau Park Plaza (37) in New Ulm; and the Church of St. Louis, King of France (24) in Saint Paul. In addition, there is a collection of 15 bells in the tower at Minneapolis City Hall, which can also be played from an electric keyboard.