If you have not been inside Snidow Chapel yet this fall, please go take a look. We did some work over the summer and the sanctuary looks really good. More importantly, the organ sounds really good!
The organ console traveled to Lawrence Kansas to celebrate its 50th birthday with being converted to digital. The original organ builder, Reuter, removed miles of tiny wire and replaced the innards with circuit boards. The organ now has its own thumb drive! The organ had shown some problems with reliability so it has new pistons, and all of the stops work every time. For the historians among us, the actual instrument (pipes, bellows, etc.) are still mechanical, but they work from a single fiber optic cable rather than a five inch bundle of wires. The bellows had the leather replaced, and I could list all sorts of other details that would only serve to show off my newer vocabulary.
The chancel itself (the raised place up the front marble steps) looks very different. The choir pews were removed so that the choir can now face the congregation. This also opens the space up for worshiping differently and having small services on the chancel. I cannot wait for the steppers to try out the new space now that they can dance where everyone can see them.
The acoustics are different now too. If you have ever been to a lecture held in the chapel, you have heard the reverberation that made it hard to understand the speaker. With the final pew cushions arriving in October, the chapel will now be a better venue for lectures and presentations as well (and a praise band is no longer ear shattering).
There is no requirement to go to chapel services any more, and some community members don’t go into the space in their entire tenure here, but our college seal bears its image because our founders believed that the dialogue between faith and reason was essential to higher education. So I encourage you to check out the space and, whatever your faith/non-faith tradition, to have a moment of silence there soon to appreciate its beauty and the gift that donors 50 years ago, and donors over the past two years, have shared with our community. Consider it a reminder that the pursuit of Knowledge, Truth and Beauty is found in our learning and in our spirits.