EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 1, 2013

Music that 'uplifts your soul'

Church organ from 1871 restored in time for Italian Feast

LAWRENCE — The organ at Corpus Christi Parish at Holy Rosary Church had been silent since April. But on Labor Day weekend, music resounded through the sanctuary as Cardinal Sean O’Malley celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Feast of Three Saints.

”It was fantastic,” said Jaime Cadena, a volunteer with the music ministry at the church. “It was a beautiful experience and the Cardinal was pleased with the music. It generated a lot of interest, including people who had come from Italy for the feast.”

While his wife, Rachel A. Cieslik played the organ, the choir sang an original song, “Hymn to the Three Martyred Saints” in Italian.

Experts at the Andover Organ Company of Methuen refurbished the reeds and keyboards on the instrument. The project costs $30,000 and the Methuen Festival of Trees awarded Corpus Christi at Holy Rosary Church $7,500.

”The pipes that really needed work were the reeds,” Cadena said.

”It was important to repair them to help them stay in tune and maintain the quality of the sound. Because of age it drifted and didn’t sound as well as they should.”

The E & GG Hook & Hastings organ dates back to 1871. It was located at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Conn. When the organ was moved to Holy Rosary Church in 1934, it was wired for electricity. The organ has 5,600 pipes.

Holy Rosary members were so committed to having an organ, Cadena said history books show some families got a second mortgage to help the church get the instrument.

Even though the organ has three keyboards, the organ was not use during the restoration. However, each keyboard was done one at a time.

”It’s very uncomfortable when I play because the keys were coming loose and overlay,” Cieslik said.

Cadena said all the ivory keys were removed, sanded and placed back on the board with a coating to set them in place.

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