Cleansing Fire

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Historic Organ Sings in the House of God

November 9th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

The facade pipes of the Carl Barckhoff Pipe Organ in Saint Mary's Church in Auburn

This past Sunday, Saint Mary’s in Auburn celebrated the 120th anniversary of the installation of the church’s 1890 Carl Barckhoff Pipe Organ. Organist and former parishioner David Fedor, now Organist for St. Cassian R.C. Church in Upper Montclair, N.J.,  returned to Saint Mary’s to help celebrate by performing a concert (only part of the video clip has sound) in the afternoon. The selections chosen for performance were in the spirit of the first organ concert played on the Barckhoff Pipe Organ by Professor Issac V. Flagler.

In preparation for the anniversary, the façade pipes of the organ were repainted and stenciled in a design reminiscent of the original façade. The images on the pipes are, appropriately, symbols of the Blessed Mother and the colors they are rendered in echo colors found in the ceiling and in the rest of the building. 

Saint Mary’s actually possesses two historical pipe organs –the Barckhoff and an 1872 Garrett House Pipe Organ. In recognition of the special historic qualities of the two pipe organs, the Organ Historical Society awarded Citations to both organs. The Citations were presented during the concert.

This past Sunday at Saint Mary’s also included a morning Gregorian chant Mass with two organs, choir and Schola. I didn’t get to the Mass but I heard it was also beautiful –of course!

Here is a composite YouTube video clip of still images of beautiful Saint Mary’s Church in Auburn and snippet’s from the concert. There is sound only with parts of the video. I wish I had recorded the final selection of the concert, “Holy God We Praise They Name.” The organ was joined by an enthusiastic congregation! I was so taken with the moment and joining in the singing that I didn’t think to record it. I hope my feeble little video clip captures a little something of the beautiful concert in a beautiful church.

Click here for video clip of concert and pictures of Saint May’s Church.

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5 Responses to “Historic Organ Sings in the House of God”

  1. avatar Bill B. says:

    Must have been great! The organist’s name is familiar. Didn’t we have a preist named Fedor who arranged an organ from a renovation in a Notre Dame University building to be installed in St. Mary Our Mother Church in the Southern Tier somewhere? I wonder if it was him or family. He played the organ and was quite talented. I think the priest left his vocation for other pastures a number of years ago.

  2. avatar Bernie says:

    Yes, David Fedor left the priesthood to pursue his musical interests.

  3. avatar Bill Benton says:

    I wonder if he went about it the official way or if he just left. I have known several priests who have been given the door as they asked and a few with a boot.

  4. avatar Bernie says:

    David Fedor went through all the proper channels and is in good standing with the Church. He performed an absolutely beautiful concert. His comments to the assembled were warm and informative.

    Mr. Fedor’s career in music actually began, as a boy, at St. Mary’s in Auburn with an important experience with that very same organ he returned to play on Sunday. There is a lesson here. For the sake of the inspiration of our young people we need to hold up before them beautiful things, beautiful architecture, beautiful music, beautiful Liturgy, beautiful prayers. They need to associate beauty with the Church. If they experience that in their youth it will always be a part of them. It may be a big part of why they return if they ever drift away from the Church.

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