Originally published in the quarterly ExplorerSpring 2014 edition.

Despite a frigid, white calling card left by a visit from Old Man Winter, over one hundred River Road Church members gathered in our Fellowship Hall a few Wednesdays ago to conduct our church’s business. It was River Road at its best—thoughtful comments, task-oriented, focused on the future.

Dr. Seth Roberts presented the findings of a committee put together to determine whether the instrument needed renovations and what those improvements might entail. Those present voted for our church to undertake a campaign to raise funds, principally for the renovation of our Sanctuary organ.

It is a project whose time has come.

For one thing, the organ has serviced this congregation’s worship with great fidelity for almost 45 years. Nothing so grand can avoid the wear of decades of regular use, nor can we overlook advances in pipe organ technology in the years since it was conceived and built. It has been on River Road Church’s “need to do” list for at least seven years.

Second, the beautiful sounds that come from the pipe chambers are a testament to those who have played in it in the past and present. Less skillful players would not be able to cover the idiosyncrasies and breakdowns that are cropping up on a more regular basis these days. To wait longer risks a failure that could leave the church silent during a funeral, wedding, concert, or worship service. This would be an embarrassment to all of us, one that could not be rectified quickly.

Third, this church is one of the premier spaces in Richmond, perhaps the region, for making music. Our music program is quickly being recognized for its ongoing excellence. Such excellence requires a pipe organ equal to its building and reputation.

Dr. and Mrs. Hilton Almond, and the Drs. Seth and Libby Roberts have agreed to co-chair this campaign. A consultant will be selected to assist the church in leading the campaign, and will be paid for by a grant from our church’s Endowment Fund.

More later. Stay tuned.