NEW YORK -- When choirmaster John Scott looked into the future he saw a spectacular addition to St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue, a new organ at the heart of worship services, concerts and expanding efforts to train young musicians.
The 100-stop organ would blend past and present, preserving the delicately carved 1913 cabinet and some of it distinctive pipes, but as part of an expanded design that would add both grandeur and gentleness, as well as many new tones.
"We are eager to hear our gallery horizontal trumpet put into first-class condition and just as excited that it will be joined by a new stentorian Tuba Mirabilis of imperial strength. These two stops will allow majestic fanfares to dialogue east and west," said Scott, in an enthusiastic May 31 update about the $11 million project.
"So, to sum up -- 2018 cannot come soon enough."
But Manhattan's famous Anglo-Catholic parish was stunned on August 12 when the 59-year-old Scott died of a heart attack, hours after returning from a European concert tour. Scott and his wife Lily were awaiting the birth of their first child in September.
Church leaders held a requiem Mass -- with no music -- the next day and began planning for a solemn funeral Mass on Sept. 12, allowing more people to travel to New York City for the rites. Many would come to honor an artist hailed by The New York Times and other prestigious publications, a man known for his recordings, compositions and concert-hall performances.
But people in the pews are mourning the loss of a fellow believer whose most cherished duty was to help lead others in worship, while teaching the faith and its musical heritage to their children, said the Rev. Canon Carl Turner.