The Sanctuary and Organ
Church sanctuaries are not ordinarily considered musical instruments. River Road Church’s sanctuary is unique. From a musical and acoustical perspective, it is reminiscent of the great European cathedrals. When funded in the late ’60’s to accommodate a growing church, the design of the Sanctuary focused on the soaring aspect of a cathedral-type space that directed attention to the heavens. A classic pipe organ and complementary acoustics would assist in this effort. The church chose the well-known American pipe organ builder, the M.P. Moller Organ Company of Hagerstown, MD to design and install a 65-rank, four-manual pipe organ that remains one of the finest examples of Moller’s work. The result was a great improvement on the portable pump organ used at the church’s founding in 1946!
The Chapel Organ
The chapel, originally built in 1950 as the first formal worship space at River Road Church, is still used for small worship services, weddings, and funerals. In 1989, the late Elizabeth Gottwald gave a second, smaller Moller Pipe Organ, this one with two manuals and five ranks, for use in the Chapel.