One of them has been the glorious and irreplaceable presence of the pipe organ and organ music.
For as long as I can remember, I have heard, enjoyed, been moved, and been inspired by many beautiful hymns and musical compositions written as sacred music to be played on the King Of Instruments, the pipe organ.
Many meditative organ works have grabbed my spiritual attention and aesthetic emotions over the course of fifty years.
I have been truly blessed to have heard beautiful and powerful pipe organ music which has stayed in my heart and mind throughout my life, from childhood to the present.
I grew up in a city during the mid-1950s. Many urban or inner-city Catholic parishes had established church buildings quite some time ago, many having stood for a century or more, and all of them equipped with pipe organs.
Some of my friends in the same age bracket as me, who grew up Catholic in the suburbs, did not experience the awe and majesty of a true pipe organ. Their newer suburban parishes erected modern church buildings as quickly as possible to serve the needs of growing numbers of Catholics moving from the city to the suburbs. Many of the newer suburban parish churches employed electronic organs, mostly due to the expense of having a pipe organ designed and installed.
If you have never really experienced the beauty of a pipe organ, please accept my recommendation of the two audio CD set entitled, In A Quiet Cathedral.
This remarkable CD set was first released in August 1994. I only recently stumbled onto it while searching for the correct name of one particular pipe organ composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams that has reverberated in my mind for over thirty years: Hymn Prelude on Rhosymedre - a Welsh hymn.
Organist Todd Wilson had recorded Rhosymedre as part of his masterful performances of several timeless pipe organ works for In A Quiet Cathedral.
A beautifully produced CD set,
In A Quiet Cathedral offers a type of musical experience in which one should turn the volume up (even if you use a headset), sit quietly and peacefully with one's eyes closed, and imagine that you are in a grand and expansive church, a cathedral -- a sacred space in which sound takes four or more seconds to stop echoing.
While seated in that imagined locale, give your attention and your emotions over to the majesty of the pipes.
I think you'll be impressed and feel renewed for having immersed yourself in the beauty of our Christian musical heritage -- church hymns, chorales, and meditative compositions played as they were written to be played: on the King Of Instruments!
The liner notes in this marvelous CD set are excellent, explaining each musical piece. Also, there is a version of the notes written specifically for introducing children to the wonders of the King Of Instruments.
FYI: Here is a link to a Google search if you'd like to make an online purchase of the In A Quiet Cathedral two CD set in a physical package or in MP3 format.