RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Take a look at church organist Brian Chuan’s face as he plays the harpsichord and it's almost as if he is transferred back to the 1500s when the instrument was at its most popular.
The instrument was given to Chuan about two months ago, but he decided to donate it to the church as he was building his own harpsichord at home.
“By just pressing one key, it is possible to play just one string, two strings, 3 strings and four strings,” sayS Chuan as he taps a key and places his foot on a pedal.
Chuan also plays an organ and piano for services. He says the congregation had nothing but accolades when he introduced the harpsichord just a couple weeks ago. His challenge, he says, is to use it sparingly.
Unlike a piano, where a hammer is used to hit the string, with a harpsichord a quill plucks the string.
Chuan says he has to be deliberate with his fingers, but not forceful, as the harpsichord will play no louder than its design.
“It allows a musician to perform music the way it was performed in the past. I think it can set any sort of mood,” says Chuan.
St. John's Church doesn't plan on keeping the harpsichord all to itself.
They hope to have concerts open to the public perhaps at Artown this summer.