FROM ROBERT McCORMICK: THE ASTOUNDING AEOLIAN-SKINNER
Parishioners, friends of Saint Mary’s and passers-by are all deeply appreciative of our Aeolian-Skinner organ. It is truly something to treasure. Not only is it an historically important instrument built by G. Donald Harrison, but also the match of this instrument and our incredible acoustic is hard to beat. Beautiful, subtle, complex—and, can it ever make a lot of noise! I have had numerous conversations with colleagues and organ enthusiasts who speak of our organ in hushed, reverent voices, as if speaking of it any other way would be disrespectful. It did not take me long to learn to revere our organ, either. I have had the good fortune of playing a number of fine organs around this country and abroad, including some well-known English Cathedral organs. None of them, to my ears, rivals the effect created by our instrument.
Our organ is now 70 years old (look for more on this in the next few months). It was built in 1932, rebuilt by Harrison, the original builder, ten years later, and finally completed by Mann and Trupiano of Brooklyn in 1995. At the time of its installation, our organ was revolutionary. Features never before included in any one organ were employed, and critics raved about the organ and agreed that it rivaled historic European instruments.
Larry Trupiano, Saint Mary’s devoted organ curator, receives much of the credit for the rebuilding and completion of the organ, and for the ongoing maintenance (necessary for any organ) which he so wonderfully provides. In addition to routine tuning, there are a number of (relatively) minor areas in which enhancements can be made to our organ. These improvements, of course, must be in line with the character of the instrument and with the builder’s original intentions. Before the completion of the organ in 1995, one of the missing stops was a relatively soft pedal stop, the 16’ Bourdon. A stop such as this is exceedingly useful in providing a gentle but supportive bass line for the softer sounds of the organ (especially when accompanying softer hymns, choral music, and some organ literature). Having a stop like this at one’s disposal is of great help to an organist’s music making. In 1995, a Bourdon stop was installed – but it proved inadequate for our organ, not being bold or present enough to fill our room. Larry Trupiano began the search for a suitable replacement.
A Bourdon was found – and it was a stop that had quite a journey before making it to Saint Mary’s. The pipes were manufactured in 1928 by the Aeolian Pipe Organ Company, which soon thereafter merged with E. M. Skinner to form Aeolian-Skinner. They were installed in a private residence organ in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1954, this organ was given to Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, but it fell into disrepair and was replaced in the 1970’s. Fortunately, the organ survived and was sold in the mid 90’s. Larry Trupiano received the Bourdon stop with Saint Mary’s in mind, and the pipes have been sitting here in the organ gallery for two to three years waiting for a time when it would be possible to install them. The time came, when out of love for our organ, a number of parishioners have expressed a willingness to provide funds for this and other future projects. Over the past couple of weeks, Larry and his crew have removed and carried down manually (on very precarious ladders) the old Bourdon pipes, and carried the 44 (very heavy) new pipes up into the organ chambers. These pipes are in perfect condition, are installed over the Swell division, and are powered by the original Aeolian windchests. The new stop will play at 8’ pitch as well (one octave higher), making it even more useful.
The new Bourdon stop is not working quite yet. Larry has a number of final details to complete. But we are happy that these pipes, which have been silent for so long, have found a home in our Aeolian-Skinner. We are deeply appreciative of those who have agreed to help with funds, and of course Larry Trupiano, whose dedication to Saint Mary’s and to our organ is endless. Next to come, sometime in the future-- our new Great Trumpet stop! Robert McCormick, organist and music director
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Howard, Bettyann, Eileen, Fred, Jerri, Myra, Mary, Sarah, Doreen, Mabel, Gloria, Marion, Olga, Peter, Betty, Kenneth, Maureen, Marie, Rick, Edgar, John, Joanne, Barbara, Amy and Charles, priest, and for the repose of the souls of Timothy and Frank. Pray also for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 23: 1959 Edith May Place Bennett.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . On Sunday, May 19, at the Solemn Mass, the prelude will be Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist, BWV 667, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) and the postlude will be Choral varié sur le ‘Veni Creator,’ Op. 4, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). Both pieces are based on Veni Creator, the great plainsong hymn to the Holy Spirit, which will serve as our Postcommunion hymn. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Pater noster’ by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). The motet at Communion is Loquebantur variis linguis by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585). This motet is based upon Sarum Rite plainsong, and the text, “The Apostles were speaking in various languages,” is expressed though the cacophonous 7-part polyphony.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104:25-32, 1 Corinthians 12:4-13, John 20:19-23 . . . The Day of Pentecost concludes the observance of Eastertide. After Solemn Evensong & Benediction this Sunday night, the church moves into Ordinary time, the Season after Pentecost. The season is called “ordinary” not because it lacks a special focus, but because its Sundays are named with ordinal numbers, i.e., The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, etc. . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 18 and on Saturday, May 25 by Father Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Members of Saint Vincent’s Guild (altar servers) should have received an invitation to a celebration supper after Evensong on Trinity Sunday, May 26. This will be our last Solemn Evensong & Benediction of the season. If you have not responded, please call the parish office at 869-5830 . . . Attendance last Sunday 224.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION NEWS . . . There is one more session left of “The Eucharist in Christian Thought and Spirituality.” On May 22 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, in Saint Benedict’s Study, we will be considering and discussing various mystical and spiritual approaches to the Eucharist. The class will focus largely on what we can learn about the Eucharist from our own experience of it. Please join us for what is sure to be a lively discussion . . . The members of the “Women and Spirituality Group” would very much like to continue meeting through the summertime and they hope that female members and friends of Saint Mary’s will consider attending. The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 11.
AND A WONDERFUL WALKING TOUR IT WAS! . . . On Saturday, May 11 a small, intrepid group comprised of members and friends of Saint Mary’s continued our tour of New York City churches, begun last year. We had a great time! I want to thank everyone who attended for their contributions to what was a fun and informative day. We were well received by many of the clergy and people of several historic churches located on the Upper East Side (the focus of our tour). Everywhere we went people seemed to know of Saint Mary’s and our liturgy. The clergy and people of several Roman Catholic parishes we visited were especially happy to see us. It seems that many of them appreciate and admire the worship here at Saint Mary’s! Matthew Weiler
ALTAR FLOWERS NEEDED . . . Flowers are needed for June 9, June 16 and all of the Sundays in July and August. The contribution for flowers is $100.00. We are able to keep the cost of altar flowers low because our volunteers hunt for bargains in the flower district early Saturday morning and then work their wonders for the glory of God and our enjoyment. To reserve an occasion please call Barbara Klett at 869-5830, extension 13 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday
Monday Alcuin, deacon and abbot
Wednesday Ember Day
Friday Jackson Kemper, missionary bishop Abstinence
Saturday The Venerable Bede, priest & monastic
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.