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July 22, 2008
Vol. VIII, No. 4

"News You May Actually Be Interested In"
I saw a report on the news that the nave of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, was back online after a two-year cleaning and restoration. The cleanup was in response to a five-alarm fire in 2001 in the north transept. The report also mentioned that the organ would be returning today by truck, having been cleaned and restored. It's not often that an organ makes the news so I thought a little follow-up was in order. Here's the background in a New York Times article:

The organ company responsible for the cleaning wasn't mentioned by name (how rude!) but I quickly ascertained that it was Quimby. Here's a nice little article on them from their local paper in Missouri as well as a link to their website:

For those who aren't familiar with St. John's Great Organ, you won't find information on the Cathedral's website, at least I couldn't. So, here are the organ specs from the local AGO:

And finally, what I did find on the Cathedral's website was the news that they have a new organist as of July 1, Mr. Bruce Neswick. You can read all about him here:

I'm happy for the Cathedral. Years ago, I spent a great deal of time enjoying that space. For free. I think the last time I was there, which must have been before the fire, they tried to charge me, er, I mean, asked for a donation in order to enter the nave. However, as I was a city resident and not a tourist, the donation was waived.

In this day and age, I'm actually stunned that the Cathedral undertook to clean and restore their pipe organ. I would not have been surprised in the least if they had announced that they were introducing a digital monstrosity to their sanctuary, as some others have done in the city. Long-time readers know that for me, there's pipe organs and then there's everything else. I'm especially concerned that as this economic downturn intensifies the digital salesforce will be swarming the smaller churches, armed with the fallacy that digital organs are cheaper.

So I'll be adding the Cathedral of St. John to the Pipes Hall of Fame to honor them for their efforts. I hope they will serve as an inspiration for others in these trying times. Click the link below to view some of the other inductees:

Click this link to read comments and offer your own:

Have a great week!

Dan Long

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