Merry Christmas – Organ Music, Cathedral Church of Redemption

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Listing to pipe organ in the Sunday service.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It is just another Sunday morning in the Cathedral Church of Redemption. The deacon reaches the sermon’s end. The 12 choir members, up there in the organ loft, quickly open their spiraled hymnbooks. Organist Mrs. Samuel, her back to the altar and eyes on the sheets, presses the keys. The music begins. The singing voices are fragile, but the teakwood organ’s sound is as steady and dignified as the stones of this 75-year-old cathedral.

Mahatma Gandhi has been here. One of the only two Delhi churches (the other is St James Church in Kashmiri Gate) to have a pipe organ, this one was custom-made in 1931 by UK-based William Hill & Sons. “Everyone follows the organ. Singers could flounder but it never does.” said Francis, a church member.

The organ indeed is soul stirring. Each time Mrs. Samuel strike keys on the three-manual console, the instrument’s resonant sound, the comforting hymns and the soothing voices gather together to create a magical moment that makes everyone, Christian or not, believe in the glory of God.

If you wish to hear the mighty instrument unaccompanied come early. That’s when the organist often plays baroque works by Pachelbel or Domenico Zipoli as preludes to the service.

Where Cathedral Church of Redemption, North Avenue Timing 8am to 9:30am, Sundays

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