Frank Toppa, Music Director
Music at UUMH in its many facets has become woven into the fabric of our congregational life.
Our Sunday Services traditionally features music centered on our new Rodgers Organ and Steinway Grand Piano.
Rodgers 558 Organ
Our excellent Music Director, Frank Toppa is an organist who directs and helps sustain an active choir and every Sunday performs music that attracts many of us to church. Prior to 2014, we were without an organ for a couple of years, as our old organ had become beyond repair. Our Music Committee discovered a splendid opportunity to purchase a revolutionary new Rodgers digital organ, the playing of which promised to enhance greatly the joy of our Sundays together, including our hymn singing.
During the latter part of 2013, we raised the money to purchase the new Rodgers Organ. This was our second major capital expenditure, on top of the new Handicap Lift Project. In addition to its fine musical qualities, we could anticipate few if any ongoing maintenance expenses. The new Rodgers organ is expected to last indefinitely. There’s nothing to wear out, nor any heat sources in the instrument, which is lit entirely with LEDs.
The Rodgers Specification 558 two-manual organ was designed and built by Rodgers Instruments Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon, one of the world's leading organ builders. Rodgers offers classically designed pipeless digital organs to satisfy specific musical, acoustical and spatial requirements. Rodgers digital voices are sourced from among the finest pipe organs in the world.
The Specification 558 organ features Rodgers exclusive revolutionary new SSC (Sound System on a Chip) state-of-the-art technology platform. This innovative single-chip design eliminates all the connections between multiple computer chips that control data storage, sound generation, digital Signal processing, and related functions; instead, one super-chip now performs all these tasks. SSC technology supports the tonal development of windblown pipe sound and speech characteristics of each organ stop.
The Rodgers Specification 558 tonal palette features 108 variable and instantaneously accessible pipe organ voices in American eclectic, English cathedral, French Romantic, and German Baroque specifications, as well as an additional 89 organ stops, 15 orchestral voices, and chimes. The Specification 558 organ sounds stunning and is immensely flexible and versatile for classical, traditional, contemporary, and gospel music styles.
We anticipate that those seeking an attractive space to rent for weddings and musical programs will be drawn to this organ and our sanctuary.
Steinway Grand Piano
For much of our music at UUMH, the piano is the preferred keyboard instrument. We were blessed in 2012 to accept the generous donation of a Steinway Grand M Piano. Steinway, of course, is properly associated with the finest instruments, and ours further is special as it was made in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg Steinways are considered by some to be more highly valued and superior to the Steinways made in New York. Made before WW II, our piano was taken with a grandmother of the donor to Switzerland to escape the Nazis.
A foremost concert pianist, Maurizio Paulini, has his own Hamburg Steinway which travels the world with him to each of his concerts. Our piano offers the potential of high-quality performances in our own future recitals, which will be open to the community and attract people to visit us.
Eric Riley and Ruth Treen