Thursday, May 23, 2013

Small Cathedral, Big Heart

Nobody has to stand at the door and greet people as they leave a church, especially a cathedral. But that is exactly what happened today as the Pipedreams tour group left Catedral de Santa Maria Magdalena in Getafe, just south of Madrid. The priest of the church stood at the door and thanked us for visiting today.

The church, designated a cathedral in 1991 with the creation of the Diocese of Getafe, was abuzz with preparations for a festival honoring their Virgin of the Angels.

Fresh flowers filled the altars, bundles of flowers stood in the church, and flower vendors crowded the steps in front of the church. Today the children of the area come to the church and bring flowers for their festive occasion.There was lots going on as we finished hearing their pipe organ and boarded our bus.

Tucked on a balcony shelf at the back of the church is a one manual organ that dates from the 18th century. The Grenzing Organ people restored this instrument in 2011 and have done a masterful job with a very old treasure. The cathedral has six huge columns, six feet in diameter that stand 50-60 feet tall. The sound of the organ moves and bounces off the rounded columns and domed ceiling spaces. Tones and melodies play with each other, reflected by the hard surfaces of marble and stone. The color of the music is enriched into a triumph of pipe organ sound, especially when a master organist like Andres Cea of Seville is playing the organ.

Santa Maria Magdalena is probably the smallest cathedral that our group has visited on this tour. It definitely has a big heart, though, as we enjoyed the sights of a festival in the making and the sounds of a well loved pipe organ.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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