Sunday, May 29, 2005

More at the Door

The door to the bells--and the antiphonal divisionThis is a follow-up to my entry in the
Round Robin Photo Challenge: Mysterious Doors

On Wednesday, I showed you this door at the front of St. Michael's and All Angels Church, and the antiphonal organ division that lay beyond it and up the stairs. Today I took some more pictures, uncovering some mysteries and deepening others. Let me show them to you. They concern the bell pulls beyond this door, the mysterious doors upstairs, and the part of the organ you haven't seen yet. You're not going to see the entire organ this time, either, but at least you'll have some idea where it is and how big it is.

I should explain that despite appearances, St. Michael's is only 51 years old. Parts of it have been added on in phases over the years. More on that in a minute.

One of the additions and upgrades since I got here, at least I think so, was some sort of upgrade to the bells in the bell tower. I still don't know whether they are physical bells with clappers or electric or electronic ones, but I suspect they are physical bells run by electricity. In this way, they play consistently, in the same pattern each time, or possibly on one of two or more patterns the bellringer can select.

All that happens immediately beyond this door, where two bell ropes hang down. They are used to ring the bells as Mass begins. On Wednesday, you had to take my word for this, but tonight I have a little bit of photographic evidence.

Exhibit A: The Bell Ropes

a view through the dirty, reflective window.
I know it's hard to tell what's inside the room here, and what's reflected from outside. All I can tell you is that the two vertical lines are the bell pulls.

And what of the door on the balcony? Well, I had forgotten that there is another way onto that balcony, without using a ladder:

Exhibit B: The Balcony

two doors to nowhere

This doesn't help, though. Neither of these doors is at the end of the loft where I was last Sunday. And anyway, are you really going to come out the door on the left, just to go back in through the door in the middle? Or vice-versa? Why? I have no idea.

Exhibit C: The Main Organ

Behind this is the organ.

This is where the main part of the organ is. No, really! It takes up a large, oddly-shaped room, directly behind what you see here.

One of the major additions to the church was in the late 1990s, when a large room was added behind the sanctuary to house the Æolian-Skinner pipe organ. Originally built in 1959 for a church in Cincinnati, the organ was purchased in 1989 by St. Michael's to replace another organ that proved irreparable. The huge replacement organ was stored for years at a local car dealership. Money was raised, the organ was repaired and upgraded, and the addition was built. In 1998, the main part of the organ was installed in the addition behind the sanctuary.

Remember the cabinet with the slats that boxes up the antiphonal part of the organ, but lets the sound out as needed? Well, the main organ lies behind a different sort of barrier. The rounded beige wall you see here is basically a cloth scrim between the organ and the main church. It lets the sound out, while hiding the organ away--but not completely. Do you see the hole in the wall in the picture above, between the main sanctuary and the side altar on the right with the little blue alcove? That's a window into a part of the organ:

Exhibit D: A Hole in the Wall

There's another opening like it this the other side, blocked from view in the other picture by the pulpit.

Exhibits E & F: The Main Organ Unmasked.

a window into the organ. (Right side)a window into the organ. (Right side)
See? There's a lot of organ up front, and you can only see a bit of it!

As for the back, where the antiphonal division is, here's how it looks from the church:

Exhibit G: Looking Back

The end - a true story!


Tomorrow: May Rain


ondinemonet said...


WOW! Thank you for the continuing and extremely fascinating look at these doors and that incrediable organ. This is girl...can tell a story. :) I admire your prose and eleoquence. :) Thanks for coming my way :)

Always, Carly :)

ryanagi said...

That is one impressive set of pipes...that organ must sound amazing!

rap4143 said...

Beside taking great photos you are a wonderful tour guide :).  I'm in awe of the woodworking, design of the church. (The decorator in me notices) Thank you!!!

krobbie67 said...

Thanks for the follow up. I like the fact that even though the building is relatively young in age, there has been an attempt to keep it authentic to the region. I think I read somewhere that you are the webmaster for your church. You should post your pictorial tour on the website. I bet there are other parishoners (is that the right word?) who would be interested in this behind the scenes tour.
:-) ---Robbie

deabvt said...

Great tour!