S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

The echo of organ

After a morning of running around D.C. suburbs, my sister and I stepped into National Cathedral for a touristic respite. I hadn't been back since my first trip to D.C., sometime back when I was a young teenager; it's one of the few expeditions I remember from then.

The gothic arches towered above our heads, and the floor was stained with light. We walked the transepts and took shoddy photos with my phone until my sister remembered the extravagantly well-stocked gift shop beneath our feet. Her boyfriend was bringing the rechargeable batteries, but not until later. The cost of double As seemed worth it, to capture the vivid hues cast on marble tiles.

By the time we came back upstairs from the gift shop, a service was underway, and then, afterwards, an organ demo was announced. The visitors and congregants thronged to the choir stalls, to learn about the history of organ-making and the history of National Cathedral's organ (made in the '30s, in need of restoration). Then the organist played for us, three pieces to show off the range of the organ all around us, from the pedal pipes above the keyboards to the festive trumpet pipes above the high altar. The last strains of Mendellsohn took eight seconds to die away in the limestone and marble interior.

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