Jump to content
Mander Organs
MusingMuso

Crystal Cathedral

Recommended Posts

Anyone who can recall the Sunday morning programmes on TV, entitled "The hour of power," will have memories of a very professional set-up, with music and preaching often as outstanding as it was unconventional.

 

Of course, for us organists, the main interest centred around the vast Rufatti re-build of two very large Aeolian-Skinner organs, which were combined into one gigantic instrument scattered around the spectacular space of the enormous and impressive glass and steel cathedral.

 

I don't want to get into the politics of the situation, for I gather that they are quite messy, but after the retirement of Pastor Schuller who founded the cathedral, various lineage and family rivalries started to unsettle the cathedral, with various resignation from key people, including some very able musicians.

 

Now it seems, the cathedral has been declared bankrupt and sold on behalf of the creditors, which leaves an interesting if regrettable state of affairs, with the creditors now holding the reigns of the cathedral, and joint owners of one of the largest organs in the world.

 

I don't think any of this has hit the headlines in the UK, or found much of a mention on any known forum, but this seems to be the state of affairs currently.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like the building is sold to the Catholics, with plans to make it suitable for RC mass but no largescale changes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like the building is sold to the Catholics, with plans to make it suitable for RC mass but no largescale changes.

 

 

=============================

 

I don't know why, but I find this appalling!

 

It's like the overthrow of Druid and Aztec Temples and the mosque at Cordoba in Spain.

 

The only good thing about it, is the fact that every move will be transparent. B)

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear MM:

 

Just the opposite really. The space is the PERFECT vehicle for the Novus Ordo. Can't imagine anything finer.

 

Just set up an ironing board and go to town.

 

The organ swells and all sing "Here I am, Lord." Video monitors keep all together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The recent goings on at the Crystal Cathedral are enough to make your hair stand on end!

 

For further information check out THIS SITE.

 

You will find details of how a superb choir was chucked out, how one of the largest pipe organs in the world has been sidelined, and all in favour of backing tracks and a pseudo-gospel choir which really isn't a shadow of the choir it replaced; and how a once hugely successful church moved from bankruptcy to a forced sale. If one considers the history of the church (a so-called Protestant Mega-Church) it is surprising that of the two bidders, Chapman University and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the RC offer was the winning bid.

 

Now it has turned really ugly.

 

I have to confess that I am finding the website makes for fairly addictive reading.

 

The great tragedy is that of an arrogant (and inexperienced) church leadership who refuse to listen to anyone, and who insist on going their own sweet way - a bit like the captain of a ship steering directly towards the rocks - or an iceburg!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The recent goings on at the Crystal Cathedral are enough to make your hair stand on end!

 

For further information check out THIS SITE.

 

You will find details of how a superb choir was chucked out, how one of the largest pipe organs in the world has been sidelined, and all in favour of backing tracks and a pseudo-gospel choir which really isn't a shadow of the choir it replaced; and how a once hugely successful church moved from bankruptcy to a forced sale. If one considers the history of the church (a so-called Protestant Mega-Church) it is surprising that of the two bidders, Chapman University and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the RC offer was the winning bid.

 

Now it has turned really ugly.

 

I have to confess that I am finding the website makes for fairly addictive reading.

 

The great tragedy is that of an arrogant (and inexperienced) church leadership who refuse to listen to anyone, and who insist on going their own sweet way - a bit like the captain of a ship steering directly towards the rocks - or an iceburg!

 

============================

 

 

Akthough I never alugned myself to the chuchrmanship, I had enormous admiration for the original cocktail of marvellous singing, some fine piano and orchestral playing, Fred Swann at the organ, some great guest appearences and some fine preaching from a variety of people; not least Dr Schuller senior. It was incredibly professional, yet they were clearly over-reaching and over-spending from the outset.

 

In some ways, it was the prostestant equivalent to the Mormon Tabernacle, and one which seemed to find favour with many people around the world.

 

I suppose it comes down to financial management and a lack of foresight, because any institution relying on donations, which was both highly levereged and profligate in its spending, was extremely vulnerable to financial woes in the wider economy, and this is precisely what has happened.

 

Servicing the debts and overdrafts must have been a nightmare for the church accountants, and the battle has clearly been lost.

 

I just think it's a very great pity, because in some ways, the formula at Crystal Cathedral worked very well, and steered a new path for poepular worship, which avoided the banal and the sort of cheesy rubbish we now hear almost everywhere.

 

I suppose on the plus side, they haven't yet plumbed the depth of events in Bethlehem, where the rival brethren ended up brawling (yet again), at the Basilica of the Nativity.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings Musing Muso:

 

I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised that your opening up of the subject of the Crystal Cathedral has resulted in a poor response so far. What an acoustic space. It’s comparable to the Albert Hall. After attending three services and two Pagents I claim a certain amount of first-hand experience. One of my visits required a 23 hour Greyhound bus journey south from Oregon. But the Ruffatti reeds almost made it worthwhile. The hey-day of course was in Frederick Swann’s fourteen year stint. Since then the music has gone down hill and included a suicide of one post-holder. But what a thrill to walk over the surrounding lawns at 8.30 on a Sunday morning and hear orchestra and choir rehearsing for the 9.30 service that is subsequently transmitted to 47 countries. Founder Pastor Robert Schuller as you imply was a special. The lowest manual has a stop named after his wife: an 8ft Arvella Sadly it is not a cathedral at all; it’s only a megachurch!

 

Verdi6@talktalk.net

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's GOING to be a cathedral, isn't it?

 

I've no idea why they ever referred to it as a cathedral, but as mega churches go, it's fairly mega.

 

I wasn't aware of the suicide, but having read the reports, it seems that the poor man who shot himself had a bit of a history of mental illness.

 

The people I feel sorry for are those who gave so much to establish the ministry and build the church, because they are about to lose everything. On the wider front, I think America has lost something too, because "The hour of power," for me at least, represented all that was best about America.....the easy charm, a sense of southern hospitality and good natured inclusiveness. It was a far cry from the uglier side of the big cities.

 

Musically, it was right on the money; treading a careful path between that which was top-drawer quality, and that which had popular appeal devoid of the trashiness of pop-culture.

 

The Albert Hall comparison is a good one.....Hollywood to Dollywood to Henry Wood....a place where things happen.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a diabolical state of affairs at Crystal Cathedral. Lets home the organ isn't allowed to rot.

 

Hopefully the time isn't too far hence when only a miniature handful of people turn up to the services on a regular basis and then hopefully the catholic diocese now running the cathedral will realise the folly of their evil ways. I pray that will happen one day. Long live Crystal Cathedral and long live the Hazel Wright organ but preferably not in the hands of the perpetrators of this coup.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure this isn't the appropriate place to discuss the murky politics and finances of the C-C, because there is plenty to see on-line about it.

 

For me, the real sadness is to see how a once rather inspired music/worship formula has now largely gone, and how those who dedicated their lives to the particular mission of that church have been badly let-down by unfolding events.

 

From our point of view, I trust that we can lament the downgrading of the music, which included a full orchestra, a fine choir, a superb pianist and, of course, Frederick Swann at the huge organ; not to mention some of the star soloists and instrumentalists who appeared regularly.

 

I really cannot see it happening elsewhere; leaving just the Mormon Tabernacle as the only alternative voice; assuming that one can even begin to believe in so many of their articles of faith.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The catholics have quite a challenge now - can they design a suitably catholic altar with baldachinno or reredos, an altar of the blessed sacrament and a bishop's cathedra to match the style of the building? Can they produce a music department worthy of the space? Or will we get another heavy duty marble picnic table and a dismal guitar strummer so beloved of contemporary catholic parishes?

 

If they can put on tridentine high mass with all the trimmings and the music from the graduale it could be quite an experience. Of course, they are well into spanish territory of old, and have their own Mexican Polyphonists. The possibiliies are endless and exciting, but it could well just turn into another musical nightmare. We will have to wait and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know why this suddenly sprung to mind, but perhaps it was the fact that institutions, by their very nature, tend to be exclusive and evil.

 

However, Stephen Fry tells the story about the time he visited the Mormon Tabernacle, and joined a group of people on a tour. The lady guide, (of a certain age), suggested that the Mormons believed that in the after life, families would be re-united in heaven.

 

Stephen Fry raised his hand and asked, "What happens if you're good?"

 

Everyone was trying not to laugh, and turning on him, the lady said, "Would you leave please."

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know why this suddenly sprung to mind, but perhaps it was the fact that institutions, by their very nature, tend to be exclusive and evil.

 

However, Stephen Fry tells the story about the time he visited the Mormon Tabernacle, and joined a group of people on a tour. The lady guide, (of a certain age), suggested that the Mormons believed that in the after life, families would be re-united in heaven.

 

Stephen Fry raised his hand and asked, "What happens if you're good?"

 

Everyone was trying not to laugh, and turning on him, the lady said, "Would you leave please."

 

MM

 

Excellent!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The catholics have quite a challenge now .............

 

If they can put on tridentine high mass with all the trimmings and the music from the graduale it could be quite an experience.

 

========================

 

 

Would YOU want to be the one responsible for cleaning the windows with all that incense? :wacko:

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NOT BLOODY LIKELY !

 

 

========================

 

 

I don't think it would be so difficult; I mean, this is Hollywood territory.

 

Enter 'Batman & Robin' with buckets and sponges.

 

"Jumpin' Jehosava Batman! Look at that glass!"

 

"This calls for Holy Water, Robin!"

 

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In that diocese, the likelyhood of a Tridentine Mass in their cathedral is slim to none. Cowboy songs accompanying singular, local versions of the Novus Ordo are the usual faire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In that diocese, the likelyhood of a Tridentine Mass in their cathedral is slim to none. Cowboy songs accompanying singular, local versions of the Novus Ordo are the usual faire.

 

 

============================

 

 

CRASH!

 

(i just fainted)

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

============================

 

 

CRASH!

 

(i just fainted)

 

MM

 

So you fainted, MM. Heaven knows what calamity would have happened to you if you had witnessed what I once did at a RC cathedral in Yorkshire one Good Friday - nubile young women attired in red dancing round the altar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you fainted, MM. Heaven knows what calamity would have happened to you if you had witnessed what I once did at a RC cathedral in Yorkshire one Good Friday - nubile young women attired in red dancing round the altar.

 

==============================

 

 

I'd have thrown up. I can't stand red: reminds me of the bike I had when I was twelve, which I rode over the edge of a quarry. The bike was yellow: I was the one covered in red by the time I staggered indoors. Don't like purple for the same reason: jumped off a church roof....poorly feet for three weeks.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Escrow closed last Friday (3 February) which means that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange now owns the Crystal Cathedral. The former Garden Grove Community Church has three years before they must move out to new premises - that is if the ministry still exists at that time.

 

There are large sections of the Hazel Wright Pipe Organ that are no longer functioning due to water damage from leaking windows - of course that organ is located in what is essentially a huge green-house and whenever I have heard it, it's never been in tune. I don't think that there is air-conditioning in that building and since the windows that should open seized up, apparently the tuner had to tune part of the organ to be useable at the 9.30am service and part to be used for the 11.00am service! I guess that mega-bucks will have to be spent putting it all into good order.

 

It's strangely addictive watching the "Penrod's Pokes at the Passing Parade" website which provides almost daily updates on the sorry situation. Certainly the situation must be almost without precident.

 

To attend a service at the Crystal Cathedral when Robert Schuller was in his prime was a truly memorable and possibly quite awesome experience. And a significant part of that experience was the excellent choir and the mighty organ - one of the largest in captivity!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Escrow closed last Friday (3 February) which means that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange now owns the Crystal Cathedral. The former Garden Grove Community Church has three years before they must move out to new premises - that is if the ministry still exists at that time.

 

There are large sections of the Hazel Wright Pipe Organ that are no longer functioning due to water damage from leaking windows - of course that organ is located in what is essentially a huge green-house and whenever I have heard it, it's never been in tune. I don't think that there is air-conditioning in that building and since the windows that should open seized up, apparently the tuner had to tune part of the organ to be useable at the 9.30am service and part to be used for the 11.00am service! I guess that mega-bucks will have to be spent putting it all into good order.

 

It's strangely addictive watching the "Penrdo's Pokes at the Passing Parade" website which provides almost daily updates on the sorry situation. Certainly the situation must be almost without precident.

 

To attend a service at the Crystal Cathedral when Robert Schuller was in his prime was a truly memorable and possibly quite awesome experience. And a significant part of that experience was the excellent choir and the mighty organ - one of the largest in captivity!

 

 

===========================

 

 

If the original ministry of the "Crystal Cathedral" and "The hour of power" were scrutinised as if they were businesses, I think I would have to conclude that they were in danger from the outset.

 

Some of the most unstable business situations occur when they are "sales and marketing driven" and chase after "market share."

 

Many businesses grow rapidly and then go pop, as costs and borrowing rise. In a way, the management of the ministry followed this pattern, with mega projects, international outreach, international broadcasting, a large and expensive staff and an infrastructure which required considerable outlays in maintenance.

 

There is an old saying in business. "Market share is vanity: balance sheets are sanity."

 

In a way, it was all sadly inevitable; especially when subscriptions fell following the credit crunch and the retirement of Dr Schuller (Snr).

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...