Kilgen Pipe Organ
Restoring the Pipe Organ at OLR
In 2006 an effort was undertaken to get the historic pipe organ at Our Lady of Refuge in Brooklyn, New York working after nearly a decade of silence. Inspection of the organ revealed that the first priority was to rebuild the bellows, and by January 2007 the organ was playing again for the first time in ten years. In spite of being badly in need of a full restoration, the organ impressed both the parish and the local community, many of whom were hearing it for the first time.
Unfortunately while the initial repairs were being carried out a more serious problem came to light. The exterior pointing of the church was leaking, allowing water to seep into the organ chamber, threatening both the instrument itself and the structure of the church. The Organ Clearing House removed the organ from the church for safekeeping before the repairs to the interior and exterior walls were carried out.
The parish is close to having raised the funds needed to reinstall its historic Kilgen Pipe Organ in the church. Each of the instrument's 1,800 pipes, as well as its mechanism have been, or shortly will be restored to like new condition. As of June 2012, Our Lady of Refuge has raised $184,000 in contributions and only needs to raise another $44,000 to move forward with the re-installation, which is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2013. Quimby Pipe Organs will reinstall the pipe organ. They are noted in NYC for their highly acclaimed removal, restoration and reinstallation of the smoke-damaged pipe organ at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Joe Vitacco, Chairman of the Organ Committee and Fr. Michael Perry, Pastor of the Parish, have used the internet and social media in new and entrepreneurial ways to raise a substantial portion of the funds from over 700 pipe organ enthusiasts from all over the world as well as having fund raising organ recitals other churches. The members of the parish have held soup dinners, concerts and even a pig roast, as well as a "sponsor an organ pipe" campaign, to raise money for the pipe organ.
When the pipe organ is returned, the parish will have a concert series featuring internationally and nationally known concert organists. Olivier Latry, one of the titulaire organists of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, is currently scheduled to rededicate the pipe organ in the Fall of 2013. Additionally, the pipe organ will be used at parish's Masses and shared with the organ community as a practice and teaching instrument.
Get the latest news on the organ restoration by following the organ's Facebook page.