The Casavant organ in the cathedral, the fourth in its history, is now 35 years old. The largest pipe organ on Long Island with 103 ranks (sets) of pipes, it has served the cathedral well during the past years. Located both at the front (chancel) and the back (gallery) of the cathedral, it possesses a wealth of colors that make it useful during the liturgy, accompanying the choirs, as well as for concerts. We are very fortunate to have such an instrument – Casavant is a world-class organ builder which enjoys an excellent reputation. This is actually the second Casavant organ the cathedral has had, the first one being installed in the 1920’s.
We now face the necessity of addressing several issues which are normal with an instrument of this age, as well as some matters unique to our installation. The past few years have seen several incidents which damaged the organ. First, there was a water leak in mid-winter 2018 above the arch that faces the chancel. This leak ruined, for the second time, a chest that some of the pipes sit on. A few months later, a major lightning strike in July 2018 destroyed the electrical connections between the front and back organs. The gallery organ has been unplayable since then.
The cathedral has now begun a program to restore the instrument to prime mechanical and tonal condition. A joint project of Casavant Frères of Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec and Foley – Baker Inc., of Tolland, CT, major parts of the instrument will be removed for restoration, a new control system will be installed, and the console (keyboards and pedalboard) will be totally rebuilt, among other things. We anticipate this stage of the project will last through the beginning of 2022, with further work planned for that year.