Oratory’s Beckerath Organ restored
Published Tuesday, October 2, 2012 5:57PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 2, 2012 7:34PM EDT
It's the crowning glory of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, and one of the most famous organs in the world -- and now, it sounds better than ever.
In project that took 8,000 hours of work over 10 months and cost more than $500,000, the Beckerath Organ has just undergone a massive restoration.
Built in Hamburg, Germany between 1958 and 1959 and installed in the oratory in 1960, the organ has 78 stops, 118 ranks, and 5811 pipes.
It underwent extensive restoration starting last fall by Ateliers Juget-Sinclair.
“Basically it was a process of taking everything apart, taking all the pipes out, straightening everything, cleaning everything and putting it all back together,” explained Steve Sinclair of Juget-Sinclair Organ Builders.
A maze of narrow staircases at the back of the organ, the restoration was a labour not only of love, but of precision and patience.
The year-long project is well worth it for an instrument that can evoke such emotion, said organ builder Robin Cote
“We can express joy, we can express profound sadness,” said Cote. “It's very powerful.”
Fr. Claude Grou, the oratory’s rector, agrees.
“You can feel something that touches your heart that moves you sometimes. You can even feel tears come to your eyes because of the beauty of what you experience,” he said.
To hear it the newly restored Beckerath Organ, attend one of two free concerts at 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 14.