The St. Joseph’s Pipe Organ Restoration & Update on Temporary Organ

Our beautiful Hook & Hastings 1891 pipe organ is set for a full restoration beginning June 2024, and will be gone for a year, in the trusted hands of the Wallace Pipe Organ Builders from Maine, who specialize in restoring historic tracker action organs.We will have a smaller organ, most likely a portative organ placed in the side front of the church, for the duration of the restoration.

Our Hook & Hastings organ is such a well-built organ that, even in its current state of broken trackers, cracked windchests, unstable key action, and a deficient blower, it still often produces a beautiful sound.  Our organist, Maria Balducci, knows the organ well enough to avoid ciphers, out-of-tune or broken notes, and other such oddities, but by avoiding couplers and certain notes or ranks, she is only able to use approximately 2/3 of the organ.  We are tasked with the responsibility of giving proper maintenance and care to this “artistic treasure of the city” (Carl Schwartz, Organ Historical Society, 2011), and we thank you for any support you are able to offer to the organ restoration fund.  Please see the poster in the back area of the church to see pictures and descriptions of the interior of the organ.

Update on Temporary Organ

We ran into a slight bump in our organ restoration plans, but a new solid plan has been made!  While our 1891 Hook & Hastings will be taken out for restoration beginning June 2024 for approximately a year, we had planned to rent a small two manual Hook & Hastings from a church in New Hampshire that is being closed.  However, the organ was not protected or covered during renovations to convert the church into another type of building, and the organ suffered too much damage to make it an option for us.

Our music director Maria Balducci quickly got to work.  After reaching out to our organ tuner, local colleagues, organ companies, and universities, visiting several different sites with organs, and consulting with David and Nick Wallace in Maine who are restoring our organ, St. Joseph’s will be the proud owners of a one manual Hook & Hastings restored organ, c. 1875, from New York City, restored and modified by Meloni & Farrier in 2021.  The organ will certainly be on the smaller sounding side as a one manual, four rank organ, but with a bright and full, lovely sound.  It will be placed in the area behind the cantor’s chair, in front of the Mary statue on the floor, for the duration of our organ’s restoration.  The temporary organ will arrive the week of May 27th, and our 1891 Hook & Hastings will be taken out the week of June 3rd.