History of The Grand Organ Project
When the church’s original electronic organ failed during the Christmas Midnight Mass of 1992, the then Pastor, the late Fr. Emil Francis Fardellone, S.D.B., arranged for the installation of the parish’s first digital instrument. The organ, manufactured by the Allen Organ Company of Macungie, Pennsylvania, and having two channels of audio, was given by Fr. Fardellone in memory of his parents. This instrument served the parish well over the next two and half decades, until late 2015, when its outdated technology also began to show signs of imminent failure.
The new Pastor, Fr. Larry Urban, S.D.B., formed a committee, and a comprehensive assessment of the parish’s musical needs was undertaken. After months of education and deliberation, as well as consideration of both traditional all-pipe instruments, state-of-the-art digital instruments, and hybrid instruments, a determination was made to select an organ built by the Rodgers Organ Company of Hillsborough, Oregon. The instrument was acquired through Central Music, Inc., of Clearwater, Florida. This family owned firm represents the finest instruments manufactured in the world, today, including Rodgers Organs, Fratelli Ruffatti Pipe Organs, and Bluthner Pianos. Mr. Nelson Newby and Mr. Tim Newby are the principles.
This instrument, a custom four-manual organ installed in September of 2016, is the largest and most magnificent instrument in the entire Archdiocese, and features a tremendous forty-four channels of audio. This system enables the organ to produce an authentic sound that is rich and full, and which fully encompasses the entire audio spectrum. Of particular note is the impressive Echo Division, located above the main entrance of the church, which features a commanding Herald Trumpet used for Solemn Liturgies, occasions of State, and other significant ceremonial events in the life of the parish. The massive console (control center of the organ) is situated atop an elegant rolling platform which allows it to be placed in a position making it fully visible to concert audiences.