The Cathedral Pipe Organ Project
The long awaited plan of restoring a pipe organ to the Cathedral has become a reality. The Pipe Organ Fund begun by Rev. Edward Healey over 14 years ago made good progress due to the great generosity of many Cathedral parishioners, friends, business associates and grants. Those funds are the foundation for undertaking this project now with the blessing of Bishop da Cunha.
The instrument has been newly designed by the Peragallo Organ Company to serve the needs of the Cathedral. It is a three manual instrument with the console located at the front of the church. Pipes fill the beautiful organ chambers in the loft for the Great, Swell and Pedal divisions, and electronic components provide a cost effective Choir division which sound from the sanctuary area as well as from the loft for the benefit of the Cantor and Choir. The decorative case pipes which adorn the carved organ cases have been cleaned and repainted to enhance the visual appeal of the instrument.
The History of the new Cathedral Pipe Organ
In recent years the Cathedral parish, including its Hispanic and Brazilian communities, has become home to four former parishes, two of which, St. Louis and Sacred Heart Churches, had recently rebuilt pipe organs. The St. Louis instrument, built by Charles Chadwick and rebuilt by Paul DeLisle was placed in storage with the hope of using it as the basis for a larger instrument if enough funds were raised. With the very recent closing of Sacred Heart parish there was an urgency to find a home for their organ installed in 1883 by E. and G.G. Hook and Hastings and rebuilt by Peragallo Organ Co. With pipes from the Cathedral’s former Kilgen organ still in storage it was unthinkable to incur the cost of storing another instrument and the decision was made to get a proposal from the Peragallo Company using the historic Sacred Heart instrument as the basic structure and adding some pipes and equipment from the St. Louis Organ. The advantages of a three manual instrument in a Cathedral setting was deemed advisable but expensive with a pipe division in the chancel, so the decision was made to use some digital stops with speakers in the chancel for Cantor and Choir resulting in a more affordable hybrid organ.
The Installation of the Organ
In the spring of 2015, the Cathedral loft was filled with trays containing some of the ranks of pipes and equipment from the Sacred Heart organ. Other pipes and equipment that needed rebuilding were taken to the Peragallo factory in Patterson, New Jersey. A new three manual console was custom made. Also, the facade pipes from the carved organ cases designed by McGuiness & Walsh were removed to the factory to be cleaned and lacquered. Although they are non-speaking ornamental pipes, they add a visual delight and balance to frame the beautiful Marian stained glass windows and rose window. The work of installation will begin mid-May with a thorough cleaning of the organ cases, and pipes. Electrical work will be done, chests will be built into the cases, the console will be connected and pipes will be installed, tuned and voiced. The installation was completed in June 2015.
Donations to the Cathedral Pipe Organ
Please consider making a tax- deductible donation, or for previous donors, an additional gift to the Pipe Organ Fund.
Gifts of $1000 or more will be acknowledged on an engraved brass plate on a wooden plaque carved by Sister Gertrude Gaudette, O.P. This will be prominently displayed in the Cathedral.
Checks may be made out to St. Mary's Cathedral.
Designate ORGAN FUND on the memo line of the check.
Please mail to:
St. Mary’s Cathedral
327 Second St.
Fall River, MA 02777
or drop in the collection basket.
We are grateful to all donors who will have made our “pipedream” come true. Thank you.