Magazine article The Tracker

Honoring Roosevelt Opus 421

Magazine article The Tracker

Honoring Roosevelt Opus 421

Article excerpt

celebration

ON MONDAY, OCTOBER I3, 20?8, A LANDMARK ORGAN IN NEW York City received an OHS Historic Organ Citation to considerable fanfare. The organ was a Frank Roosevelt III/36, the firm's Opus 421, installed in 1889. The location was Saint James Roman Catholic Church in lower Manhattan, a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge and Chinatown. Since its founding in the 1830s the church has served generations of immigrants; its interior is virtually unaltered - a magnificent testimony to the faith of countless new Americans.

Except for minor alterations carried out in 1895 by successor firm Farrand & Votey, and an electric blower, the organ is the same as it was when installed. All but one original stop are present, and three couplers added in 1895 can easily be ignored. An Aeolian player mechanism installed by Farrand & Votey (documented by Rollin Smith1) was later removed.

Recently, Sebastian Glück and his team have nursed the organ along with careful, incremental repairs. The organist of the church, Tali Mahanor, hopes to implement a full restoration program some day, when funds become available. She wished, though, to celebrate the organ and raise consciousness about it, in order to stimulate interest.

To do this, Mahanor turned to Jonathan B. Hall, Dean of the Brooklyn AGO Chapter, for a spoken presentation followed by a recital. Bearing in mind that only the Great and part of the Choir worked, Dr. Hall developed a program for manuals only; except for the final chord of the last piece, which was in F major. …

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