The 64-rank Holtkamp organ in Saint John’s Abbey and University Church is being expanded by master organ builder Martin Pasi to about 115 ranks. Yesterday was a momentous day in Collegeville – the truck with all the new pipework arrived. (Almost all… some of it is still in the abbey Woodworking Shop where it was produced locally. The biggest 32 foot pedal woods, for example.)
Here are some photos of the work and fun, as the monks and their helpers came out in numbers to spend a full day unloading.
You’re probably wondering: timeline is that it may well be playable by Christmas, or early in the new year. We’re scheduling the main dedication recital (Stephen Tharp) for September 2020 to make sure everything is playable, with a campus community multi-choir blessing in May 2020.
The previous three-manual console is out for expansion so the Holtkamp is not playable. We’ve been well-served by an Allen Digital organ since July 15. (And Fr. Anthony has been enjoying telling friends and visitors that we’ve gone electronic rather than pipe because Pope Francis, pipes felt increasingly like curating a museum, we’re divesting to go to the peripheries, etc.) We expect the new four-manual console will be here in early November, making the Holtkamp playable while the Pasi expansion is installed and voiced.
Photography: Tommy O’Laughlin, CSB/SJU Marketing and Communications, except for Bob Koopman (photo of Abbot John Klassen OSB and Anthony Ruff OSB).