MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The first sounding of the Cathedrals restored and enhanced 1963 Skinner gallery organ anticipated to be heard at the Easter Vigil, set for 8 p.m. Saturday, has been postponed.
The final phase of the comprehensive restoration work on the Cathedral’s gallery organ is still in process.
Even though most of the work is done, acting Director of Sacred Music Lawrence Lawyer says hundreds of the system’s 5,000 delicate and handmade pipes are still undergoing painstaking refurbishment.
“What’s known as the reed pipe, what I like to call the ‘fire’ in the instrument, those take some time voicing, so our builder in Missouri just had some delays,” says Lawyer.
Lawyer will still be behind the recently restored 1927 Skinner, the older of the two massive pipe organs in the Cathedral and located directly behind the alter.
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“The EM Skinner organ in the sanctuary, it was refurbished last year and it had its’ first sounding for the Papal mass that we celebrated recently so we will use that for this weekend’s Easter services and it will be just as glorious,” says Lawyer.
Lawyer beamed at the prospect of the two organs together in an upcoming summer concert at the Cathedral when all will be in place.
“We have two identically matching consoles, able to be played from either end of the Cathedral. We can play concertos with orchestra and I can do double organ pieces more easily. It’s really exciting! The sounds we are going to have, the pontifical trumpet for example, it’ll part your hair!” said Lawyer.
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The $3.4 million restoration of the Cathedral’s two historic pipe organs, casework design, restoration, construction and balcony renovation began in 2010. As of Jan. 31, 2013, about $650,000 of the total project cost remained to be raised.
But until a couple hundred hand-made brass reed pipes come back from painstaking and tedious refurbishment in Missouri, parishioners will have to settle for the single 1927 Skinner, which is still no slouch belting out notes that hang as long as nine seconds in the air and drift slowly down into the pews like a soft mist.