At day's end, about 5,000 people had marveled to the majestic strength of music that flowed through the new 4,263-pipe organ, but no one was moved as much as Margaret Sanders, 58, the organist.
"I remember the first time I played it," said Sanders, organist for the Fullerton First Evangelical Free Church for 15 years. "It was truly a moving and dramatic moment. It gave me spiritual goose bumps."
It was like a full production, she said, that started with the regular electronic church organ and the massed choir "and suddenly we switched to the new organ, which engulfed the church and caused tears to flow because of the sheer magnificence of it all."
The $345,000 organ, which spreads across the 2,500-seat workshop center, was financed mostly through small contributions, "although we received some larger memorial gifts and one anonymous donation of $50,000," said Howie Stevenson, the church's minister of music.
The custom-designed organ from a Highland, Ill., company has pipes ranging in size from a pencil to one 28 feet high and 18 inches in diameter. It will be dedicated Sept. 22.
Despite her years of experience, which began in high school, Sanders said "I still practice three or four mornings a week" to prepare for the two Sunday-morning services as well as to get used to the mechanics of a new instrument. "I also knew it was going to be fun playing it."