Special to the Catholic Herald
A single female voice, along with the brand new Sebastian Gluck pipe organ, sang “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.” Soon after, the entire space was filled with brass, timpani, choir, and the congregation praising God.
Several people expressed being moved to tears by the majestic sound, the first of its kind to be heard in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior.
The dedication of the pipe organ Sunday, Nov. 25, the Feast of Christ the King, was filled with rejoicing for all who were involved, whether financially, physically or prayerfully.
On Sept. 23, a moving truck could be seen parked outside the doors of the cathedral. After the 10:30 a.m. Mass, the doors were opened, and more than 70 parishioners and school members helped move the windchests, more than 1,600 pipes, the console, and various other parts of the Sebastian Gluck organ, which is now fully installed in its new home.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once reflected, “To my eyes and ears, the organ will ever be the king of instruments.” After a nearly two-year national search, the cathedral finally has one of these powerful instruments.
According to Jessica Poskozim, the development director for the cathedral and Cathedral School, in the fall of 2016, the organ that was brought into the cathedral specifically for the rededication in 2005 was removed, as the maintenance became too costly to justify, and it was never intended to be a long-term solution.
Thanks to the help of Scott Riedel, a leading acoustical engineer who helped with the renovations at the cathedral, a used organ in good condition was found.
Poskozim said, “The organ was intended for another church, but that sale fell through, and we were able to purchase an exceptional instrument for our predetermined price range.”
Thanks to generous donors throughout the diocese, the complete phase I of the organ – to the tune of $494,330 – has been installed. The next phase, $103,000, which includes additional pipes that will enhance the instrument to its full capabilities, still needs about $50,000 to be complete.
The cathedral music director, Dr. Richard Robbins, is excited about the range and variety of expression that the organ can add to the liturgy.
“The organ can provide music that is soft and meditative, or full and majestic. The sound of the liturgy will finally match the visual beauty of the cathedral,” said Robbins.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states, “Among all other instruments which are suitable for divine worship, the organ is accorded pride of place because of its capacity to sustain the singing of a large gathered assembly, due to both its size and ability to give resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.”
The pipe organ, dedicated in honor of William and Alice Stack, will be used and cherished for decades to come. The UW-Superior Music Department, as well as the Duluth-Superior Symphony Chorus, will showcase the organ in recitals and concerts. Most importantly, liturgies, both at the parish and diocesan levels, will be enhanced with music that with its depth and beauty will aid in lifting hearts to the Lord.