This morning I was looking around in an old Shepherd School file and I found two unexpected things, one of them interesting and the other both interesting and mysterious.
The just plain interesting thing was a folder of letters, drawing and photos about the installation of the chapel organ in 1958. I’d seen a folder about the organ before, but it was in President Houston’s papers. I’d never had any reason to suspect that there was another so this was a nice surprise. Most of the material was correspondence between the organ maker, C.B. Fisk, and Arthur Hall. Hall came to Rice in 1953 after serving several years at Christ Church Cathedral as their organist and director of music. He was Rice’s first real music teacher and quickly became head of the Department of Music, a job he held until 1973. He was also a prolific composer. What caught my eye here was a letter from Charles Fisk to a Houston construction firm, in which he succinctly explained how the new organ would be installed:
It actually sounds like a simpler process than the renovation of the organ that took place this summer. I was quite tickled by the insistence on the need for quiet, given that this recent work was done while the chapel itself was undergoing its own noisy remodel. I’m sure the Linbeck folks piped down, though, (get it?? piped down? Oh, I crack myself up.) at the appropriate time.
And here’s a photograph taken right after the original project was completed. (If you zoom in and look closely you can just see the back of the head of a young lady seated at the keyboard.)
Now to the mystery. In the same folder I found this undated, unlabeled image. It was not attached to any document and there isn’t any document in the folder that relates to it.
What could this possibly be? At first it made no sense at all and I wondered if it even belonged in this box. When I scanned it, though, I realized that the figures are musicians. But that’s all I’ve got. Anyone know what we’re looking at here?
Bonus: It’s pretty cool inside an organ. The instrument uses the whole room.