A Lasting Gift of Music for Future Generations
We are in the process of raising funds to support the building and installation of a new organ at St. Francis of Assisi. It will be a beautiful, versatile instrument and a worthy replacement for our current organ, which sadly has played it’s last notes. The new instrument will be an Allen organ, and will be a lasting instrument, thanks to the incredible quality of instruments made by American craftsmen at Allen Organ Company.
We invite you to join us in supporting this vitally important project.
New & Improved Sound
Many factors affect the sound of an organ. We have some unique challenges at St. Francis of Assisi due to the way the church was designed. Since the church is built in the shape of a “T,” making sure the sound is evenly distributed to all parts of the church is a priority.
The main cabinet of speakers will remain above the organ in the loft. However, there will also be antiphonal speakers on the back wall of each of the annex wings (above the clear windows where the trees are on the north side, and above the sacristy doors on the south side). These speakers will help spread the sound evenly throughout the church. The Antiphonal speakers can be used alone or in tandem with the Main speakers, or Main speakers alone.
This doesn’t mean the organ will be louder, in fact, it will make the organ sound much clearer and distinctive without needing more volume to support the entire space in the church.
Imagine sitting in your living room and turning up your TV’s factory speakers to be able to hear better (like our old organ’s speakers) vs. having a professionally installed surround sound experience that would be custom tuned to fit the acoustic needs of our church. Also, because of Allen’s 10 year warranty, we would have the ability to continue to fine tune the sound of our organ for up to 10 years at no additional cost to the parish if it were ever necessary to do so!
How then will the new organ differ in sound as compared to our current instrument?
The new organ will sound much more like the human voice. The organ will create this sound using modern digital sampling technology. Real pipes from a pipe organ were digitally sampled (recorded) and are used to produce the sounds the congregation will hear. It will be a clearer and much more accurate representation of what a pipe organ would sound like in our room.
Imagine silvery flutes, warm oboes, shimmering strings, resonant and fiery trumpets, and the deep dignity of the full organ sound that at once provides support for our singing, envelopes us in warmth, and raises our voices and spirits to an ever loftier “Alleluia”!
Why do we need a new organ?
The current organ we have was an electronic instrument built under license by the Baldwin Piano and Organ company in the early 1990’s. It has served our parish well for almost 30 years, but there have been multiple malfunctions over the past year and the instrument is no longer serviceable.
Why can't we just repair the current organ?
The Baldwin name has been around for over 100 years and was well known for building quality pianos. They started manufacturing organs in the middle of the 20th century. After multiple buyouts and bankruptcy, the name changed hands multiple times beginning in the 1980’s. As such our organ was actually built by an outsourced builder and the Baldwin nameplate was slapped on it. Because the Baldwin name was sold and is owned by Gibson, a musical instrument conglomerate, and they no longer make organs, there are no parts available to service our organ.
What type of organ are we getting?
We are getting a new Allen G350 Organ. It is a three-manual (three keyboards) organ with 66 stops. It will be well suited for leading congregational singing and other liturgical music throughout the church year.
How much will it cost?
The organ is $99,975 which includes installation and a 10-year warranty. This is a major investment for our congregation, but given the alternatives of a pipe organ (starting at $750,000) and other digital organs (not fully manufactured in the USA), it is the very best fit for our parish.
How long will the project take?
The organ is handcrafted in Macungie, PA and will take about three months to make once we sign papers for the new instrument.
Who is building the new organ?
It is being built by the Allen Organ Company. Allen has been family-owned by the same family for over 75 years and employs over 200 craftsmen to manufacture the instrument completely in the USA. This rich history gives us a proven record of service and reliability we can count on to keep the new organ playing for decades to come.
For more information on the excellent work done by Allen, visit: Allen Organ Company
How will this organ be different from our old organ?
The organ will have an additional keyboard for Jeremy to utilize, which gives him a great deal of flexibility especially when using the organ between the choir and congregation. It has more stops (sounds) available, and most importantly, creates this sound using modern digital sampling technology. Real pipes from a pipe organ were digitally sampled (recorded) and are used to produce the sounds the congregation will hear. It will be a clearer and much more accurate representation of what a pipe organ would sound like in our room.
Why can't we get a cheap keyboard instead?
Organs are a timeless instrument. They are the preferred instrument of the Church. Organs are not just something you can buy off the shelf at Wal-Mart. It is important for the stability of our Sacred Music program to invest in a good instrument that will be played for the next 50 years.
This organ will be played for some of the most important moments in the spiritual lives of our parishioners. At the funerals of loved ones, the weddings of our children or grandchildren, at First Holy Communion and Confirmation as well as the Sunday Liturgy. These liturgies deserve a dignified instrument worthy of such occasions.
How can I contribute to the Organ Project Fund?
You may bring a check to the rectory. Be sure to include a note in the “Memo Line” to indicate that it is for the new organ. You may also give online at https://www.osvonlinegiving.com/722, select the New Organ Fund. Thank you for your generosity!