Restored church organ brings new life and music

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For organist Frank Schultz, the difference is night and day because 15 months ago, the playing of “Ave Maria” might not have been possible.

“You could only use about a third of the organ at a time before it just lost its wind and died, which happened a few times,” Schultz said.

A completely new organ in its place. The old one at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart was built back in 1910 and was a fire trap filled with faulty wiring. That’s why in 2016, Schultz and Father Andrew Baranski started a search. And where it would lead them was a complete surprise.

“We really did a worldwide search. We were searching places in Europe to bring an organ and lo and behold, one little bird told another bird, ‘hey there’s an organ across town,’” Schultz said.

“And I say, ‘Okay where is it?’ ‘In the church over there’ and I say ‘Let’s go and look at it,’” said Father Baranski

Just three miles away at the First Church of Christ Scientist, across from Foreman Park, was the perfect fit.

Father Baranski said, “They plugged it in, powered it and the air came in and it played. And 15 months later, it plays here.”

It has 800 more pipes than their previous organ and one by one, each, whether bass or tenor, 2,431 total were restored and placed.

“And what we’ve ended up with the organ just right for our church,” Schultz said.

“It’s an uplifting experience, but it’s also a sense of gratification, kind of, finally we have an instrument that is worthy of this Basilica,” Father Baranski said.

Worthy and ready to be enjoyed by all future churchgoers.
 

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