St Patrick’s Pipe Organ Music Ministry
Several years ago, a parishioner offered a unique opportunity to fund a pipe organ. Early research suggested a rebuild was the best option for St. Patrick’s. In 2017 another unique opportunity allowed Greg Bell and several volunteers to dismantle and remove to storage a pristine Schantz Pipe Organ from Moundsville West Virginia.
In 2018 a Pipe Organ Committee was formed to survey parish interest, yielding an overwhelmingly positive response. The results led to a successful Commitment Campaign that matched the donors’ $250,000 toward a pipe organ. By direction of the Vestry, a Project Team was established to work with the architect and rebuilder.
Our goal is to oversee and provide updates to insure the successful design, rebuild and planning for the installation of the pipe organ at St Patrick’s in 2020.
Pipe Organ Project Advances with Vestry Action
On Wednesday evening, February 13, representatives of the Pipe Organ Project Committee, made a presentation to the Vestry at its regular meeting. Steve Pearson, David Mayo, and John Montgomery shared our architect’s drawings and the decision of the committee regarding the placement of the organ pipes on either side of the great window above the altar. The chosen arrangement is the simplest and least expensive of those considered, and it more nearly matches the interior architectural style of the church. Also shared with the Vestry was a drawing that illustrates the installed position of the pipes. That rendering appears here with this article. The exposed pipes will be made of polished aluminum and are the largest; the rest of 1,000+ pipes will be behind these large pipes and inside of a frame. The Vestry moved to the nave, sanctuary and sacristy to get a better feel for the placement of the pipes and where construction will be done behind the stone wall. Many questions were asked and answered before returning to the meeting.
The Vestry unanimously approved the recommendation of the Committee regarding the placement of the pipes. In the area of financing the project, the Vestry then approved the release of $16,000 to cover the cost of the next step in the architectural design process: construction drawings. These detailed plans are needed so that bids can be sought for the construction needed to install the pipes. In addition, the Vestry approved the preparation of a contract with Peebles and Herzog for the actual purchase of the pipes and their rebuilding to fit our situation, including the organ console. Once prepared and reviewed, the Vestry will vote on the approval of the contract in March.
Benefits and Opportunities
The electronic organ that we use today will not last forever. Organs of this type wear out in 15 to 20 years. In a few years, it will need to be replaced at a projected cost of $48,000 to $50,000. On the other hand, a well-maintained pipe organ will last, according to some estimates, 100 years. A brand-new organ and pipes, built from the ground up, would cost between $800,000 and $1,000,000. Consequently, we are avoiding some significant costs with the Vestry approved Pipe Organ Project. And please keep in mind that other music forms used at St. Patrick’s would not go away with the installation of a pipe organ. If you like contemporary music at 5:30, it will still be there. The handbell choir will still practice and perform, as will the choir. However, a pipe organ would enhance the worship experience almost beyond measure, and would also create opportunities in music ministry and community outreach. How so?
The pipe organ will make St. Patrick’s more attractive as a worship and sacred music destination. The talents of our music director would be showcased with a pipe organ, and we will attract other organists who would want to come to St. Patrick’s to play. Imagine organ concerts where we attract talent from area churches and universities, and where we could raise money for outreach into the community, like Habitat for Humanity, mission work, Dublin Food Pantry, and so much more. Many other area churches with pipe organs see their organs as significant assets and feature their instruments in concert. We are missing that opportunity, and as a prominent church in the diocese, we can do even better. With an enhanced music program, we would attract more visitors and potential new church members.
Thank you for your attention, and if you should have questions, please contact any Pipe Organ Committee Member.
Pipe Organ Project Team Committee Members
Steve Pearson (Chairperson)
David Mayo (Co-Chairperson)
Pipe Organ Education /
Campaign Committee Members
Steve Pearson (Chairperson)