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.