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Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Organ

By the year 2000, the original eleven-rank Wick’s organ, which had served Mary Queen of Peace for the previous two decades, had become increasingly unreliable. The decision was made to upgrade and renovate the existing organ to one that would be suitable for the various worship needs of the congregation and also be equipped with technology that would have value for years to come. Dr. John A. Romeri, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, and Ms. Tina Mower, Music Director of Mary Queen of Peace, collaborated with the Wick’s organ company to design an improved organ that would fill these needs.

Due to space limitations, the decision was made to “expose” 4 ranks of the Great Division. New casework was built to house the pipes, which can now be seen outside the chamber on the west side of the church. The 244 new pipes visible consist of the 8’ Principal, the 4’ Octave, the 4’ Flute, and the 2’ Fifteenth. A fifth new rank of 61 pipes inside the chamber represents the completion of the Mixture III to a IV Fornature. The Swell Division, under expression, received the 61 new pipes of a 4’ Principal and the new 244 pipes of the IV Plein Jeu. These are housed inside the chamber on the east side of the church.

The existing pipes of the original organ were re-voiced, brining new clarity and beauty to the upper ranks. The 61 existing pipes of the trumpet rank were taken to the factory for repairs and replaced in the Swell Chamber. New swell shade motors were added to reduce the distracting noise of the shades opening and closing. The original console was in need of many repairs and was inadequately equipped to accommodate the new specifications of the organ. Thus, a new 2-manual oak cabinet console was installed.

To alleviate the natural acoustic delay, an antiphonal division was installed behind the baldachino. This antiphonal consists of 5 digital “ranks” manufactured by the Walker Company. The antiphonal division allows the Cantor, Ministers of Liturgy, and Congregation seated in the front of the church to hear the organ at the same time as the sound from the main organ is heard in the choir loft and those seated in rear of the church, improving tempos and rhythms for singing by eliminating the 1.5 second sound delay experienced in the church.

Because of the outstanding quality of the Walker digital technology, digital ranks were economically added to the Great, Swell, and Pedal divisions. When combined with the pipe ranks, the digital ranks are almost indistinguishable from the pipes. The result is an organ of surprising beauty and variety of sound, ultimately providing an excellent palate of timbres for our worship needs.

The organ was dedicated on May 19, 2002 at the Evening Prayer on the Feast of Pentacost. The Mary Queen of Peace choir and children’s choir joined music director and organist Tina Mower and trumpeter Dr. Steve Patterson for music during the service, and Dr. John Romeri performed a Dedicatory Recital.

Music before the Evening Prayer:

Toccatta pour Trompette et Orgue, Giambattista Martini
Trumpet: Dr. Steve Patterson
Organ: Ms. Tina Mower

Let Heavenly Music Fill This Place Gordon Young
Mary Queen of Peace Children’s Choir

Gracious Spirit Dwell With Me (Adore te devote ) arr. K. Lee Scott
Mary Queen of Peace Children’s Choir

Prayer of St. Gregory Alan Hovhaness
Trumpet: Dr. Steve Patterson
Organ: Ms. Tina Mower

Dedicatory Recital:

Dr. John A. Romeri, Organist

Choral Variations on Veni Creator Maurice Durufle

Concerto in A Minor Antonio Vivaldi
I. Allegro trans. J. S. Bach
II. Adagio
III. Allegro

Benedictus Max Reger

Sonata No. 1, Symphony in D Minor Felix-Alexandre Guilmant I. Introduction and Allegro