The new organ in Saint Mary's Chapel at the Sain Paul Seminary was not only to be a fitting instrument for the seminarians' services, but also provide a good example of what might be a fine organ for many of the parishes which they some day might serve. Perhapes it was a blessing that the planning process took well over twenty years, allowing ideas to ferment, dreams to be molded into reality and, we hope, to find a valid solution. Our files go back to 1979 and a letter from Charles Fisk to Elizabeth Stodola with a proposal for an organ still assuming the old balcony, and later reports about Brother Frank Kacmarick's stunning renovation of the chapel. In 1989 I had the pleasure of attending early planning sessions with Sue Seid-Martin, as well as with David Jenkins, with whom we were priveleged to work through many stages to the final conclusion.
To serve a seminary chapel the organ has to address a few special requirements. It must, of course, be able to lead congregational and choir singing and perform a wide range of organ literature suitable for this setting. In addition, we realized that a congregation of seminarians needs a fuller sound, on the one hand, and more than just a quiet flute stop for the accompaniment of chant on the other. All of this we aimed to accomplish with no more stops than necessary, making an example of good stewardship. The organ is not a copy of one in any place particular historic style, although some kinship with baroque German organs and 19th century New England organs can be found.
The case front was originally to have 16-foot-tall front pipes, but with a somewhat more disciplined approach 8-foot diapsons have been provided for both the great and pedal fronts in the upper part of the instrument. As the organ visually serves as the termination of the (liturgical) north end of the chapel, this de facto reredos needed to be quite tall; at 27 and one-half feet, the organ is considerably taller than necessary to accomodate the pipework. The swell division is housed in the lower part of the organ, hidden behind a very simple, delicate grill of the same design as the pipe shades.
The pipework is made from 20 percent lead and 70 percent tin, except for the ash bass pipes. A wedge-shaped bellows provides wind that is just flexibile enough to add a human quality to the sound. A slightly unequal temperament (Valotti) was used, rendering the simpler keys (with fewer flats or sharps) more pleasant than equal temperament.
I join my fellow organ builders at The Noack Organ Co., Inc. in expressing our gratitude for the opportunity to build this organ. In addition to the individuals already mentioned we would like to thank Tom Fisch, Father Phillip Rask, Father Charles Froehle, Thomas Keefe, James Callahan, James Frazier, Delores Bruch Cannon, and Richard Prolux who all contributed to the success of this project in their own valuable way. We hope this organ will bring joy and peace to the worshippers in Saint Mary's Chapel for many years to come.
Stopt Flute 8'
Chimney Flute 8'
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Quinte 1 1/3'
Seventeenth 1 3/5'
Cornet III from f
Mixture IV 1 1/3'
Stopt Bass 16'
Choral Bass 4'
Mechanical Combination Action
Mechanical Action Throughout Temperament after Valotti
The much anticipated Noack pipe organ was installed in Saint Mary's Chapel in mid-April of 2000.
The original organ installed in the 1930s was not salvageable and as a result the chapel has been without a full pipe organ for many years. Since 1982 the seminary has been using a five-stop pipe organ as a temporary instrument. The seminary recently donated this instrument to the St. John Vianney Seminary.
Fundraising efforts resulted in the purchase of a 22-stop organ, which was dedicated on May 7th, 2000 as the Cyril E. Rotter Memorial Organ in honor of the major donor for the project. Rotter, of Minneapolis, is a long-time generous donor to The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. Through his gift, and those of other donors interested in this project, the chapel now resounds with the rich tones of this great organ.
Pipe organs are by their nature one of a kind. They are not mass produced, and are, therefore, costly. Commitment to high quality has been the standard through the Chapel renovation process.
The pipe organ was chosen because it is an authentic musical instrument with superior sound quality and flexibility of tonal color. In addition, a pipe organ is expected to last 100 years without major repair or rebuilding, during which time the organ will actually appreciate in value. As with all artifacts used in religious service, the organ should be beautiful to the eye and ear, and should reflect the workmanship of artists and craftspeople. For this reason the Noack Organ Co. Inc. of Georgetown, Mass., was chosen for its reputation of exceptional craftsmanship.
With the installation of the Noack pipe organ in Saint Mary's Chapel, the process of renovation of the chapel was virtually completed, and a new era began in the liturgical life of the seminary and in its mission to form priests and other leaders for the Church.
The instrument will support a wide variety of liturgical events, from daily worship for the resident seminary community to full community gatherings and larger festive occasions. It will facilitate the formation of students in our tradition of leadership in liturgical music both locally and in the wider church.
Besides supporting the worship of the seminary, the instrument sets a model and tone for teaching about the integral role of music in worship. The instrument will have an impact in this Archdiocesan music community and beyond as our students bring this experience to their work.