St. Mary’s Pipe Organ Historical Summary
Saint Mary’s Pipe Organ
Built by Muller and Abel, New York City 1902 Opus 60 cost $10,000
Rebuilt in 1927 by the Moller organ company of Hagerstown, Maryland cost of $20, 950 two
ranks of pipes were added to the organ and the original 44 ranks were retained. Organ
becomes known as the opus 5112 Moller.
Rebuilding 1954, $4,163
Rebuilding? 1960, $22,483 dollars needed for releathering (not clear if work was actually done)
Releathered 1974 and a new console added $58,435
2012 estimated value c. $963,000
Double Open Diapason 16’
First Open Diapason 8’
Second Open Diapason 8’**
Viola d’Gamba 8’
Doppel Flute 8’
Rohr Flute 4’
Octave Quint 2-2/3’
Super Octave 2’
Mixture IV Ranks
Tuba Clarion 4’ extension
Open Diapason 8’
Stopped Diapason 8’
Spitz Flute 8’
Vox Celeste 8’
Flute Harmonique 4’
Cornet III-IV Ranks
Vox Humana 8’
Double Melodia 16’
Violin Diapason 8’
Unda Maris II Ranks 8’***
Concert Flute 8’
Flute d’Amour 4’
Piccolo Harmonique 2’
Open Diapason 16’
Violone (from Gt.) 16’
Lieblich Gedeckt (from Sw.) 16’
**added by Moller 1927
***one rank added to dulcinea
by Moller 1927
St. Mary’s Pipe Organ Historical Summary
January 29, 2002 marked the 100th anniversary of the installation of the present pipe organ in St. Mary's Church. The initial cost of the organ was $10,000 which was built by the Muller and Abel organ company of New York City. The dedicatory concert was performed by Gaston Dethier as organist, assisted by St. Mary’s choir. Dethier was a native of Belgium who was the organist at the time of St. Francis Xavior Church in New York City. Later he would teach at the Institute for Musical Art in New York which is now known as the Julliard School of Music. It has been difficult to piece together a complete history since many parish records were lost in the 1972 flood, along with an extensive music library that was stored in the rectory basement. However, from articles found in the local newspapers of the time, notably The Wilkes-Barre Record and the Wilkes-Barre Daily News, we learned about the series of concerts performed by the parish choir under the direction of Dr. D. J. J. Mason who was a prominent musician of the time. He was a published composer (two of his compositions may be found on the Library of Congress web site and an opera was composed for the Chicago World Exposition of 1894). He formed the first oratorio society in the Wyoming Valley and was the director of a 200 voice Welsh choir affiliated with the Welsh Baptist Church in West Scranton. The concerts performed by the parish choir as a fund-raiser for the new organ were as follows:
May 17, 1901 Mozart’s 12th Mass the Hemberger Quartet played the andante con moto and gavotte (intermezzo) from the Quartet In D Minor, op, 75. Bazzini. Mrs. Joseph P. Burns also sang a scene and aria from Concone's "Judith."
May 23, 1901 "Gloria In Excelsis" from Haydn's Sixteenth Mass, Rossini's "Stabat Mater." The Hemberger Quartet played two Tschaikowsky numbers arranged by Theodore Hemberger, W. A. Roberts of Scranton sang "Galilee"
May 31, 1901 Concert with the Irish Baritone, William (Ledwidge) Ludwig (Wagner’s personal favorite singer in the Flying Dutchman, who was in the United States to sing with the Metropolitan Opera Company and a world renowned opera singer of the time).
June 11, 1901 "THE MESSIAH" Handel, 150 singers with full orchestra. A stage was built which extended the area in front of the high altar out over several rows of pews and additional gas lights were installed in the church to provide additional lighting.
June 16, 1901 Mozart's "Requiem" The Hemberger Quartet, played the andante from opus 15 by Alexandre Glazounow and the adagio non troppo from third quartet in A major by Benjamin Godard, op. 136. Benediction followed.
During the month of these concerts the parish choir also sang their regular repertoire of other Mozart, Haydn and Cherubini Masses at the weekly parish high Mass! Certainly an astounding accomplishment by any standards! The series of concerts raised over $1,000 for the new organ.
This is what we know of the organist/music directors of the parish since 1901. First we know of Dr. D. J. J. Mason. It is not known what his dates of service were to the parish. It is possible that his successor was Mollie Leonard. Mollie was born in 1892 and reputedly played her first funeral in St. Mary's at age 8. She would later become Mrs. Mollie Sheridan. She served as St. Mary's organist/director until at least 1955. She was succeeded by Mrs. Nancy O'Donnell who is still an active member of St. Mary's parish. Mary Marzen served the parish a short time, probably from 1977-79. She was followed by Liz Brogna and then Mark Ignatovich from 1986 to the present. This list does not include the many associate organists that helped as assistant organists in covering the schedule of parish services.
We are indebted to the visionaries and former music ministers and pastors of this parish who have seen to the care and maintenance of this organ over the years. They include Dr. D. J. J. Mason and Rev. R. A. McAndrew who saw to the construction of a new organ after the previous organ was damaged by a cyclone (this instrument was sold to Holy Trinity Church in Nanticoke, the organ was recently disconnected from use), and Rev. J. J. Curran, Monsignors Costello and Madden who oversaw its rebuildings and presently, Monsignor Banick without whose enthusiastic support of the parish music ministry, none of this would be possible. Thanks to all who support St. Mary’s parish and it’s music ministry. Without you we not be able to continue having a magnificent pipe organ in our house of worship.
St. Mary’s Pipe Organ Historical Record
The Wilkes-Barre Record April 9, 1901
ST. MARY'S IMPROVEMENTS
Important Additions and Changes to Be Made
NEW PAROCHIAL SCHOOL WILL BE
ERECTED PROBABLY ADJOINING
THE CONVENT, ON SOUTH WASHINGTON -
ADDITION TO THE CONVENT WILL BE
BUILT AND NEW ORGAN WILL BE
PURCHASED - SOME OF THE PARISH
PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD.
A meeting of the men of St. Mary's congregation was held yesterday afternoon after the late mass and some important improvements were decided upon, chief among which will be the erection of a new parochial school to take the place of the school on Canal Street. It was also decided to build an addition to the convent on South Washington street and to purchase a new pipe organ for the church.
The meeting was called by Father McAndrew and was largely attended. He briefly stated he did not
wish to take any steps in the matter without the hearty cooperation of the members of the congregation. He felt that better school facilities are needed and read a letter from the Mother superior of the convent to bear out his statement: The letter also called attention to the necessity of building an addition to the convent on South Washington street, the sisters being cramped for the necessary room to carry on the educational work in which they are engaged.
Father McAndrew also referred to the school on Canal Street, calling attention to its lack of the necessary facilities to bring about the best educational results among the children. He said he had long realized that it was out of date, but had refrained from taking steps to erect a new one, owing to more pressing wants along other lines. He then outlined his plans, stating that it was his desire to dispose of some of the properties owned by the parish, referring especially to the Mountain House, on the way to Laurel Run, the Canal street property and the large lot at the comer of South and South Washington streets. By the sale of some of these properties all the money needed could be raised.
Father McAndrew further stated that it was the wish of the sisters and also his wish to erect the new school that will replace the Canal Street School on Washington Street, adjoining the convent, where there is ample room. He said his Intention was to erect it at the north aide of the convent, the lot here extending half way to South Main Street.
Father MCAndrew then called attention to the need of a new organ, the present instrument being in poor shape since the cyclone, at which time, it was irreparably damaged. Dr. Mason, the director of the choir, also spoke of this necessity, saying that the choir was badly hampered and could not do itself justice with the instrument.
The meeting was then organized by the election of M. J. Walsh as president and W. J. Higgins secretary. Brief remarks were made by some of the members of the congregation, after which Father McAndrew's plans were unanimously endorsed and he was given full authority to go ahead and carry them out. The parish has many thousand dollars' worth of property that is not needed and the improvements decided upon can be made without taxing the congregation. Father McAndrew has been a considerate pastor, ever holding the interests of the members of his church uppermost. He has done splendid work since taking charge and it is pleasant to note how warmly his enterprising efforts are seconded by his parishioners.
To swell the organ fund four high class concerts will be given by the choir during May. A ticket for the series will cost $1 and one admission 35 cents, except to hear the "Messiah," the admission for which will be 50 cents. The organ will be the largest in this part of the State.
The Wilkes-Barre Record May 4, 1901
ST.- MARY'S CONCERTS.
To close the present musical season St. Mary's choir will give four great concerts, the proceeds from which will go to the organ fund of the church. The first of these will be given on the 17th of this month, and the work will be that great and popular mass of Mozart's generally known as the "Twelfth." Selections from this mass are often given in churches and concerts, but the work in its complete form is rarely heard. It abounds in most elaborate and beautiful solos and quartets and in the Gloria we have a great and intricate fugue.
Of the second work, Rossini's Stabat Mater, to be given on May 28, it is almost enough to simply mention the name of the work. It will be remembered what an excellent rendition of this work the choir gave a few years ago. This time, the chorus will be much larger and have the assistance of an orchestra.
The third work will be Mozart's Requiem, to be given on the 31st of this month. Every musical person, perhaps, knows something of this work. It was the last and greatest from the pen of the great master - in fact, was not quite complete when he died and was sung for the first time at his own funeral.
The fourth and last work will be Handel's "Messiah," and will be given on Tuesday evening, June 11. This is perhaps the greatest work we have from Handel. It is certainly the most popular. In most places the musical work of the season is not considered complete without Handel's "Messiah." For this work a large platform will be built in front of the altar. The chorus will be much enlarged and there will be an orchestra of about twenty-five pieces, the whole making about 150 performers. For each of the first three of these works there will be a miscellaneous part in which the Hemberger quartet will play a special work.
Tickets for these concerts are now for sale. Season tickets for the four concerts are only $1; single tickets for the first three concerts are only 35 cents, and for the "Messiah," 50 cents. Any of these tickets may be reserved for a little extra. Let the church be filled.
The Wilkes-Barre Record May 15, 1901
MOZART'S TWELFTH MASS
Mozart's Twelfth Mass, which St. Mary's Choir will sing on Friday evening as the first of the series of concerts, is one of the finest of all musical compositions, and as the choir is thoroughly familiar with it there will no doubt be a good rendition.....
The Wilkes-Barre Record May 18, 1901
FIRST OF ST. MARY'S CHOIR CONCERTS
The first concert in the series of four at St. Mary's Catholic Church took place last evening. The weather was threatening but the audience was a generously large one. The galleries were filled and their occupants had an advantage over those in the body of the church, as the latter had the choir behind them. Singing is more enjoyable when one has the singers in view, but in the present case the condition could not be remedied.
The choir numbered sixty voices and in such competent hands as those of Dr. D. J. J. Mason Mozart's Twelfth Mass was splendidly sung. The soloists were Miss Alberta O'Neill, Soprano; Miss May Kenney, contralto; D. T. Davis, tenor and Joseph P. Burns, bass. Mrs. J. M. Boland presided at the organ and Mrs. J. P. Burns sang the recitative.
All these distinguished themselves by the excellence of their individual work and the chorus was strong, uniform, well balanced and devotional.
The mass is one of the most pretentious of all musical compositions and the dignity and beauty of the music greatly impress the listener. The choir had so thoroughly rehearsed it that there was not a break, and the confidence, evenness of tone and forceful ensemble were greatly to the credit of the vocalists. Of the soloists so much has already been said and their work is so well known that it would be repetition to particularize. It is sufficient to say that they sustained their reputations. The accompaniment of the Hemberger Quartet was much enjoyed. It rounded out and amplified the work of the choir.
Previous to the rendition of the mass the Hemberger Quartet played very well the andante con moto and gavotte (intermezzo) from the Quartet In D Minor, op, 75. Bazzini. Mrs. Joseph P. Burns also sang a
scene and aria from Concone's "Judith."
The second concert will be next Friday evening -- Rossini's "Stabat Mater."
Members of the choir, -- Miss Alberta O'Neill, Miss Lulu Gaffney, Miss Anna Whalen, Miss Grace Lynch, Miss Anna Reel, Miss M. Garrahan, Miss M. Armstrong, Miss B. Kearney. Miss A. Walsh, Miss I. Moran, Miss M. Ferry, Mrs. M. J. Coon, Miss Mae Kenny, Miss. Hattie Feldman, Miss K. Stevens, Miss S. McCabe, Miss M. Moran, Miss Maud Kenny, Mrs. J. P. Burns, Mrs. Joseph Burleigh, Miss Susie McCollough, Miss Rose Anzmann, Miss Nora Tracey, Miss A. Garrahan, Miss M. Kearney, Miss L. Grant, Miss M. Hoban, Miss G. Lenahan, Mrs. Dr. Hayes. Mrs. J. Lynch, Miss E. Stevens, Mrs. E. Connor, Miss A. Clinton, Miss E. Bull, J. P. Burns, D. T. Davis, James Meighan, M. Dougher, J. McGinty, Prof. T. Davenney, Joseph Burleigh, William Kirk, H. L. Campbell, D. J. Price, Fred Bird, G. E. Mason, Francis O'Neill, John J. O'Hara, W. Robbins, R. N. Jones, G. J. Jones, D. L. O'Neill, Leon O'Neill, James O'Keefe, Thomas Shea, Andrew Feldman, T. W. Mason, David Wyman, W. A. Roberts,
T. J. McManus.
The Wilkes-Barre Record May 24, 1901
SECOND ST. MARY'S CONCERT.
The second of the series of concerts in St. Mary's Church last evening was even better attended than on the first evening and the choir and soloists were at their best. It is really surprising that the vocalists should do so well since they have undertaken four such pretentious selections. The choir in the two appearances so far has shown decidedly good work and while good voices and faithful rehearsal are in great measure responsible, much credit must be given to Dr. Mason's wise direction. The audience was highly pleased and the musical people present found much to commend.
The program opened with the "Gloria In Excelsis" from Haydn's Sixteenth Mass and it was rendered with due regard to the loftiness of the music.
The Hemberger Quartet played two Tschaikowsky numbers arranged by Theodore Hemberger and they were given with rare depth of feeling, in a manner characteristic, of these musicians.
W. A. Roberts of Scranton sang "Galilee" in full, deep, baritone, easily filling the large auditorium. He used excellent expression.
The "Stabat Mater" is frequently sung in concerts, but had only once or twice before been heard in Wilkes-Barre. Although Rossini is best known as a composer of opera this religious work of his abounds with the most beautiful passages and is one of his best efforts.
The opening chorus was given with dramatic force and the ensemble of voices was under excellent control.
The next concert will be Mozart's Requiem next Friday evening.
Mrs. James M. Boland played the accompaniment on the organ in her usual excellent manner.
The Wilkes-Barre Record May 29, 1901
THE COMING Of LUDWIG
The concert at St. Mary's Church on Friday evening next promises to be most enjoyable. Tickets are being disposed of rapidly and the large auditorium of the church will be well filled with the best people of this city, attracted by the high reputation of William Ludwig, who will be the leading feature in this concert. The artist has won laurels on two continents and given the greatest satisfaction to lovers of music from every land. Boston may be considered a critical musical center, and yet Mr. Ludwig won the hearts of Bostonians by the natural richness and beauty of his voice.
The Boston Journal thus speaks of his success there in the rendition of "Elijah,"
"Mr. Ludwig was eagerly welcomed as he opened the evening's work with that grand recitative. 'As God the Lord of Israel Liveth.' On the part of 'Elijah' devolves a large share of the solo work, and from the beginning to the end the honors of the evening undoubtedly belonged to Mr. Ludwig. This was partially anticipated, for his magnetism, the feeling with which he invests every line of a work like this, could not fail to make him such an interpreter as has scarcely been seen here. His recitations were marvels of dramatic power."
The Wilkes-Barre Record May 30, 1901
HIGH PRAISE FOR LUDWIG.
The newspaper notices of William Ludwig, who will appear in the concert at St. Mary's Church to-morrow evening, are all flattering indeed. The following are samples selected from different sources:
"The Mephisto of William Ludwig still remains a performance in every respect admirable. Not only is his voice one of great natural richness and beauty, but the great dramatic spirit of cynicism and evil which he infuses into his work in the 'Damnation' lends rare power and artistic truth to his performance."-Chicago Herald.
William Ludwig, the noble high baritone, was the only soloist not found wanting. He had the breadth and mobility of voice to meet every demand, while the beauty of his enunciation added to the satisfaction of his fine role."--Chicago Inter-Ocean.
The singing of Mr. Ludwig was absolutely inspiring. He sings with voice that makes one believe the traditions of the old minstrels. He is a belated minstrel, inspiring a crowded, concert hall with the same fervor that used to bring the swords from the sheathes all along the long-board of old-time castles. Mr. Ludwig is one of the major singers of his time. There was an epic majesty in his intonation of the dirge 'After the Battle,' and an irresistible thrill in his 'Rising of the Moon.'"-New York Criterion.
The concert will begin at 8:15. Tickets may be purchased at Higgin's shoe store at 35 cents each; 15 cents extra for reserved seats.
The Wilkes-Barre Daily News May 31, 1901
St. Mary's Concert
The third of the series to-night to be a notable event.
The third grand concert of the series of five, will be held this evening in St. Mary's church. The excellence of the program arranged merits the consideration of all music loving people of this city and vicinity. While the strong feature of the program is to be the singing of William Ludwig, the famous and brilliant Irish baritone. The other features are no less important.
The complete program is as follows:
Kyrie Eleison......................Haydn from the Sixteenth Mass.
With Verdure Clad................Haydn from the Oratorio Creation
Mrs. Joseph Burleigh
(a) Andante Cantabile...........Beethoven
from String Quartet in A Major op. 18, No. 5
Sanctus and Benedictus.............Gounod
Soprano and tenor solo and chorus from the Messe Solenelle
David Singing Before Saul..........Bordesse
Hail Queen of Heaven...............Nessler
Quartet and chorus from Sixteenth Mass.
Mrs. J. P. Burns
From String Quartet op. 11.
Irish Reapers, Harvest Hymn.........Keegan
Agnus Dei and Dona Nobis...........Haydn
Quartet and Chorus from Sixteenth Mass.
SOLOISTS IN THE CHORUSES,
Miss Alberta O'Neill-Soprano,
Miss Mae Kenny-Contralto,
D. T. Davis-Tenor,
J. P. Burns-Bass,
Mrs. J. M. Boland-Organist,
Dr. D. J. J. Mason-Director.
The fourth concert will be on Tuesday evening, June 11, when Handel's Messiah will be rendered with a chorus of 150 voices and a full orchestra. On this occasion a platform will be erected near the altar from which the concert will be given. Tickets for this evening's concert are for sale at Higgins' shoe store, Public Square. General admission 35 cents. The tickets held for Mozart's Requiem Mass will be good for this concert.
The Wilkes-Barre Daily News June 1, 1901
LAST EVENING'S CHOIR CONCERT.
St. Mary's Church held an audience of fully a thousand people last night--the third concert of the series of five undertaken for the new organ fund. The musical offering was opulent and the throng was delighted and enlightened with the result of the night. The soloist par excellence was William Ludwig, the well known baritone of the great voice. He was in high favor and his selections covered a wide range. His best success was reached in Nessler's Queen of Heaven. His tone is big and broad, of great carrying power, and of ample range. He has an eloquent interpretation too, and a dominating facility in expression. The Irish Reaper's Hymn was full of feeling and a cope of expressive art. The Hemberger Quartet reached a summit of triumph in the Tschaikowski number. This was a revelation. The quartet has never played it as it was brought forth last night. It is a memory to recall with the keenest pleasure. The choir as well as the quartet was at its best in the Benedictus of Haydn's Sixteenth Mass.
Especial interest attaches to the forthcoming event-the Messiah, which will be given June 11, with a chorus of 150 voices and full orchestra.
The Wilkes-Barre Record June 7, 1901
"THE MESSIAH" NEXT TUESDAY
There will be a rehearsal of "The Messiah" at St. Mary's Church this evening. This will be the last meeting until Sunday afternoon and all members of the choir are requested to be present. The chorus is composed of 150 of the best singers of this city. "The Messiah," perhaps, is the greatest--surely the most popular--of all the great oratorios. It will be given by a chorus and orchestra numbering about 150, all local talent. The orchestra will consist of nearly all, if not all, of our best players, including the Hemberger Quartet. The chorus includes some of the best singers in the valley and the soloists, Miss Alberta O'Neill, Miss Mae Kenny, D. T. Davis and J. P. Burns, are well known. A large platform with tiers of seats for the chorus is being built in front of the altar and out over one or two rows of pews. The church will accommodate about 2,000 people. There is every expectation of a large audience. Tickets are now on sale by members and also at the following stores: A. M. Doran & Co., Shadrach & Collins, Clarke & Engle, M. J. Walsh, "Joe" Rice and Higgins's shoe store. Reserved seats may secured at the latter store.
The Wilkes-Barre Record June 11, 1901
PREPARATIONS FOR "THE MESSIAH"
St. Mary's choir had an excellent rehearsal last evening of "The Messiah." The chorus and soloists with the orchestra occupied the newly erected stage to be used for the concert this evening. The spectacle that will be presented this evening is almost as much to be considered as the singing will be. The work of contractor Joseph Gaynor is creditable. The stage is nearly the full width of the sanctuary and is reached from a stair on the right side as one faces the altar. The front is extended out over three rows of pews and its depth reaches nearly to the altar or a distance of forty feet. There are several tiers of seats for the singers, the sopranos and tenors occupying one side and separated from the altos and bassos by a narrow aisle. On the wide level portion of the stage will be seated the orchestra of twenty-eight pieces, these facing Dr. Mason , the director, who will occupy the centre of the stage. The soloists, Miss Alberta O'Neill, soprano; Miss Mae Kenny, alto; D. T. Davis, tenor; and J. P. Burns, will occupy seats to the extreme front of the stage. The arrangement is so complete that every seat in the auditorium may be considered a reserved seat, for from every portion of the church the soloists, chorus and orchestra may be seen.
The soloists and chorus, judging from the singing of last evening, have the work well in hand and will give a good account of themselves at the concert. "The Messiah" is one of the greatest of oratorios and lovers of music will be furnished a treat. Plumbers were at work all day on Monday fitting pipe for more gas light and this is well provided for.
The Wilkes-Barre Record June 12, 1901
AS RENDERED IN ST. MARY'S
CHURCH BY SOLOISTS AND A
LARGE CHORUS, ASSISTED BY
A SPECIAL ORCHESTRA
That masterpiece of Handel's, "The Messiah," was given a splendid rendition in St. Mary's Church last evening by local soloists and an enlarged orchestra. It was a great undertaking for local vocalists and a local leader, but all came out of it admirably and the rendition will long stand out prominently.
In the other concerts of the series the singers were in the rear gallery by the organ and the audience on the main floor of the church could not see. This was a decided disadvantage, but one which could not be overcome. Last evening the organ was not needed and the participants occupied seats on a stage built in the front. The seats were in tiers and the picture was a decidedly attractive one, the ladies in white and other light-colored costumes, the orchestra occupying the lower tier with the soloists.
Of "The Messiah" little need be said. Its lofty and sublime music, its thrilling choruses, the magnificent treatment in melody of the scriptural theme relating to the Savior of mankind, all are the admiration of the world. However popular other productions of this nature may be, "The Messiah" stands at the head.
The audience occupied almost every seat of the church and it was made up of people from all the walks of life, attracted by a musical event that it is seldom given the privilege to enjoy here. The audience was at times manifestly enthused to the point of applauding in spite of the place, and were it proper to indulge in this form of appreciation there would no doubt been a great commotion. One could hardly refrain from applauding with all his might after, for instance, that most excellent rendition of the "Hallelujah" chorus. The singers here did the best work of the evening and the volume of sound that came from the stage, so well under control and so confident in every note, was cause for profuse congratulation. Nothing more sublime in music than this chorus can well be imagined. The enthusiasm of the "hallelujahs" and "forevers," continually breaking in and adding fire and dash to the ensemble work, makes a thrilling effect.
The chorus in all its work showed a general excellence of voice and thorough familiarity with the composition. Much was expected from it, but hardly so much as it gave. The vocalists seemed to grasp the spirit of the music and become enthused with it, rising above the lifeless and spiritless rendition that results when rehearsals are too infrequent and the performers must give their attention too much to the music and not enough to the performance. The volume of sound was a decided credit to the chorus and the voices blended very well.
Dr. Mason deserves the gratitude of the music-loving people of this city and vicinity. He essayed a great task and came out of it in a manner characteristic of all he undertakes. More and more are we coming to realize that he is an invaluable part of our musical life. Few would be able to do what he has done.
The soloists were all in good voice and naught but words of praise may be said of their efforts.
The orchestra was a special one, and the members of it being all veteran musicians it is hardly necessary to say that it assisted very materially in the success of the rendition. The orchestra gave a smooth, sonorous foundation to the chorus work. The members were: First violins--Hemberger, Lewis, Rippard, Widmeyer. Second violins--Oppenheim, Pokorny, Luft, Kroll. Violas--Innes, Pokorny. Cellos--Rippard, Litsch. Double bass--Pabst, Eddy. Flutes--Humphreys, Hungerford. Oboe--Anstett. Clarinets--Potter, Fitzgerald. Bassoon--Schappert. Horns--Velardi, Skeat. Trumpets--Rowley, Austin. Trombones-- Lippencott, Moore, Eddy. Tympani--Wort.
The Wilkes-Barre Record June 17, 1901
FINAL CONCERT AT ST. MARY'S.
The last of the series of five concerts was given in St. Mary's Church last evening and many heard it. No admission was charged but a silver collection was taken and the proceeds will be applied to the new organ fund, which has been considerably augmented by this series of concerts just closed.
The principal part of the concert was Mozart's famous "Requiem," which was sung by the choir a couple of years ago before an audience that almost filled the church. The music is grand and inspiring and the atmosphere of the requiem, not wailing and tearful, but dignified and solemn, runs through it all. The chorus gave a fine rendition, as did the soloists, who were: Mrs. Mary Williams Burleigh, Miss Mae Kenny, D. T. Davis and J. P. Burns. Mrs. James M. Boland was the organist.
The Hemberger Quartet, which has been doing such good work in this series of concerts, played the andante from opus 15 by Alexandre Glazounow and the adagio non troppo from third quartet in A major by Benjamin Godard, op. 136. Benediction followed.
The Wilkes-Barre Record June 24, 1901
ST. MARY'S CHURCH NOTES.
It was announced in St. Mary's Church yesterday morning that the proceeds of the series of concerts recently given are $1,200. This will be added to the organ fund, which now amounts to about $6,000. It will not be long until St. Mary's Church will have one of the largest and best organs in Pennsylvania, costing about $10,000.
It was also announced that St. Mary's Institute will picnic at Mountain Park on Aug. 15.
The celebrant of the late mass was Father McGinty of California, brother of J. J. McGinty of this city. Father McGinty formerly resided here and began his studies here. He has resided in the West for about seventeen years.
The Wilkes-Barre Record JuLY 19, 1901
ST. MARY'S BIG ORGAN.
IT WILL BE IN PLACE FOR USE
ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS HOLI-
DAYS-OLD ORGAN BEING
Mr. Abel of the organ firm of Muller & Abel, New York City, is in town with a force of men removing the old organ from St. Mary's Church preparatory to installing the new one, which is to cost $10,000 in addition to the old organ, which the firm has sold to the Trinity Polish Catholic Church of Nanticoke for $1,000. Mr. Abel was here last summer superintending the placing of the new organ in St. Nicholas German Catholic Church.
The new instrument will be the largest in this part of the state, having 122 more pipes than the organ in the First M. E. Church. It will have forty speaking stops and 2,639 pipes.
The new organ will occupy a space of twenty-five feet front. It will also be sixteen feet deep and will have a height of twenty-five feet, reaching from the gallery to the ceiling. The height will help the effect of the voicing as the swell organ will be placed high and the sound will be softened and modified. The organist will sit facing the altar instead of being back to it, as now.
The choir loft will be remodeled so that the choir will have the entire space across the rear of the church, giving place for a chorus of 150 voices, if necessary.
The front of the organ will be of quartered oak, in the Romanesque style, and it will be gilded and painted to conform with the church decoration.
The instrument will not be completed for several months. The work of placing it will begin about Sept. 1 and it is the intention to give the opening recital about the Christmas holidays. The recital will be given by Gaston M. Dethier of St. Francis Xavier Church, New York City, a pupil of Guilmant.
The Wilkes-Barre Record JANUARY 11, 1902
AN ORGAN TRIUMPH.
The Great Instrument at St.
Mary's Almost Completed.
THE REGULATING AND TUNING ARE THE LAST OF THE
FINISHING TOUCHES-TO BE HEARD JAN. 28 AND 29.
The western gallery of St. Mary's Church has blossomed into a lovely bloom during the past few weeks. The splendid new organ is now in place and it overlooks the main body of the church with a suggestion of almost conscious majesty. The great instrument is not yet regulated or tuned, and will not be for a fortnight, but the exterior beauty is complete. The case is of sold oak, beautifully polished and finished and massive. The ornamental pipes are colored to match the general decorative features of the interior, and they harmonize exactly with the delicate blue, light terra cotta and gold of the ceiling panels. The darker shades of the wall frescoes have not been used. All this gives a dainty freshness to the organ color scheme which blends softly and artistically, and the organ front is a thing of beauty to the eye, as the organ will be a delight tot the ear. There are more than seventy pipes across the organ front, divided into four panel groups, and a central "tower," as the organ makers would call it-a group of seven of the largest and tallest pipes arranged semi-circularly, and their bases resting on a circular projection on the lower organ case. The lines of the groupings are so deftly drawn that at a distance the shading of sizes appears to be almost like a bit of drawn work in a light tapestry. Of all these front pipes only nineteen are dummies and the others speak, belonging chiefly to the open diapason.
The worshipper at St. Mary's always has an appeal to the eye in the grace of the marble altar and the beautiful painting which supplements the reredos. And now there will be the grace and loveliness of the organ to attract the gaze at the opposite end of the church, and to balance the altar beauties.
In all that goes to make up the complete modern organ, with elaboration of mechanical detail, with a great opulence of color effects in the various registers, with the arrangement of swell boxes within the placing of the delicate vox humana in a swell box of its own back of the main swell organ in all these things and more, the new instrument ranks the peer, and by virtue of up-to-datness probably the superior of all the fine organs hereabouts.
The number of speaking stops is forty-three-somewhat larger, therefore than any organ in the valley, and having slightly greater capacity for combinations of color. One of the additions which other organs here do not possess is a sixteen foot violon, a penetrating string quality in the pedal organ, and which quality has found a ready favor among organists of note. Of mechanical stops there are some twenty-three, making in all, then, sixty-six controlling stops and registers. These have already been detailed in the local papers and it is scarcely necessary to repeat them here, except to say that the great organ has eleven registers, the choir organ nine, the swell organ sixteen and the pedal organ eight. Of the entire number, nine registers are of sixteen foot pipes. The Quinte in the pedal organ, ten and two-thirds feet, gives as a resultant a thirty-two foot tone. The usual three rank mixture in the great, is, in the St. Mary's organ, a four rank mixture, which makes the total pipes controlled by this one stop 244.
The entire organ has 2,821 pipes, divided as follows: Great, 845; swell, 1,148; choir, 519; and pedal, 279. The mechanical accessories are thus divided: Couplers, 7; accessories, 4; pedal movements, 12.
The power for the great bellows is supplied by a two-horse electric motor enclosed in a little room of its own at the side of the organ. The power comes form the city wire and serves to turn a steel rod which is worm-geared at right angles to the rod that operates the bellows. The bellows has three feeders. From the big bellows the compressed air is conveyed directly to another bellows called the regulator, and operating something like an air chamber on an engine. The air pressure on the bellows is regulated automatically by a rheostat, which has a lever arm sweeping up and down as the bellows rises and falls. When the bellows is full the rheostat arm is opposite the lowest point of power, and when the bellows exhales its air the rheostat arm goes further and further toward the higher power, so that the action in a full bellows is made slower and in an empty bellows very much more rapid. From the regulator the wind is distributed evenly to the various feed and wind chests. The action throughout is tubular pneumatic. It is interesting to observe in this connection that only six years ago this new system of pneumatic action was argued against by an organ scientist, as being impractical and unsatisfactory. Today no organ of any pretention is made without it. Of the seven great organs hereabouts all are complete pneumatic except one, and that is the St. Stephen's organ in which the old-fashioned tracker action makes the keys heavy to the touch, especially when the three organs are coupled together. The beauty about the pneumatic action is that no matter whether one stop or all stops are in use the action on the keys remains precisely the same, and execution is reduced to the simplicity of a piano forte.
The details of the pneumatic action are interesting to the organ lover. Under each pipe, in the wind chest, is a tiny bellows. When the key is depressed the air pressure is thrown out of equilibrium, the air in the wind chest presses the little bellows, allowing the air to escape into the pipe and of course making the pipe speak at once.
An interesting feature of this new organ, too, is the console, familiarly known as the organist's seat. It is placed out from the organ, so that the organist faces the altar and has his back to the instrument. He is thus closer to, and in better touch with the choir. The swell organ and the choir organ, as well as part of the great, are enclosed in separate boxes having their own mechanical shutters. Thus the power of the instrument can be regulated on the instant and surprising effects in crescendos and dynamics are obtainable.
The workman ship throughout, as has been indicated, is conscientious and thorough. The finish, even of the smallest wood pipes, is carefully done, and unlike many great organs the front of the little pipes is done in hard wood instead of soft pine. The organ is so compactly built that it really does not at first glance suggest its great power. There are enough pipes in it to fill an organ case five or six feet higher or several feet broader. As it is, the tallest pipes of the front almost touch the ceiling and many of the eight foot pipes within are turned at the top so as to escape the ceiling. This will not affect the tone in the slightest, but it saves a great deal of room.
The builders are Muller & Abel of New York, the same firm that has constructed a number of organs in this section; including the large St. Nicholas organ. The installing of the organ has been throughout under the personal supervision of Mr. Abel, whose traditions in organ building and organ voicing have come from generation of organ builders and who himself has spent his life in this work. There is no firm of all the establishments or organ builders in America, that has a better reputation for thorough and conscientious work or for more intelligently comprehensive and up-to-date organ building that the Muller & Abel people. This fact reveals itself at one on inspecting their instruments, and is further impressed by personal contact with Mr. Abel himself, who yields to none in his devotion tot the finesse and technique of this branch of artistic endeavor. The organ will be a source of the greatest pride to the people of St. Mary's and none of them, however proud and glad they may be in this accomplishment, will quite reach the satisfaction felt by the worthy rector, Rev. Father McAndrew, who has been wrapped up in the project from the beginning and who has practically seen every pipe in the great instrument put in place.
It will take another fortnight for the regulating and tuning, and no hint of the power and color of the tone can be gained until the opening recitals, which will be given on the evenings of January 28 and 29, Tuesday and Wednesday. The organist for the recitals will be that clever virtuoso, Gaston M. Dethier, organist of St. Francis Xavier, New York, and whose organ work has been heard and applauded throughout a wide section of the country. The new organ, it is stated, will be played by Dr. Mason, whose splendid work as choirmaster at St. Mary's has won him added laurels in the local musical world.
The Wilkes-Barre Daily News
JANUARY 29, 1902
ST. MARY'S ORGAN RECITAL.
Dethier, the great organist, who is to give a series of concerts at St. Mary's Church, arrived in town Tuesday evening and was escorted by a committee to Hotel Sterling. He will play at the concerts some original selections prepared especially for this occasion and his friends say they have the sound, the touch, the thought, and the simplicity, and are sure to impress and please.
The choir of 80 voices will sing several selections from the Messiah and those who may attend are sure of hearing one of the greatest musical treats ever given in this city.
John Shepherd will assist at the organ.
The diagram for the rectial will open at 10 o'clock this morning at Doran & Co.'s business place, and information and tickets can be secured until 6 o'clock each evening. Tickets are for sale also at the following places: Murray & Maier, Higgins & Co., Dr. Mason's, and at St. Mary's parochial residence.
The Wilkes-Barre Record JANUARY 29, 1902
THE ST. MARY'S CONCERTS.
The first recital on the new organ of St. Mary's Church will take place this evening and tickets may be procured at A. M. Doran's, West Market street, between 10 a. m. and 6 p. m. Mr. Dethier arrived last evening accompanied by his wife. At each of the concerts he will give a number composed for this occasion. Tickets may also be procured from Murray & Maier, South Main street; Higgins shoe store on Public Square; Dr. Mason's rooms in the Simon Long building and at the rectory on South Washington street. John H. Shepherd will accompany the chorus of eighty voices in selections from "The Messiah."
Mr. Dethier played on the organ during the afternoon and spoke very highly of it, complimenting the builders for some unusually excellent combinations.
The Wilkes-Barre Record JANUARY 30, 1902
A NOBLE INSTRUMENT.
THE NEW ST. MARY'S ORGAN HEARD FOR
THE FIRST TIME-ASSISTANCE GIVEN BY
THE FULL CHORUS CHOIR-AN EVENING
OF DELIGHTFUL MUSIC.
St. Mary's people and their worthy rector, Rev. Father McAndrew, reveled last evening in the glory of their new organ. And they were so well justified in that emotion that anything else that a revel of the senses would not have done the occasion and the instrument and the performer justice. The church was thronged-filled to suffocation almost. Over 2,000 tickets had been disposed of and nearly everybody used his ticket. And it was an audience that contained, besides the St. Mary's Church congregation, many from other allied communions and also from the Protestant churches, and from the general body of music lovers. For there are few matters in which people of many beliefs and creeds can sympathize as in music. The organ itself has already been described in detail in these columns. It will be remembered that the number of speaking stops-forty-three-and the number of mechanical accessories and pedal movements and the details of construction and the total number of pipes-2,639-have already been dealt with. It is not necessary to revive that information except to say that in actual number of stops and pipes the instrument is somewhat larger than any other of the noble instruments in this section.
This being true, if the tone shades, and ensemble, and solo qualities, and the massing of brass, wood, wind, string and reed effects is well done, then St. Mary's may be said to be, as far as the present is concerned, the high mark of church organ building in Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming Valley. And it means a good deal to say this, for it is doubtful if there is another city of anything like this size in the country that has so many fine organs and so many fine churches to house them. Therefore, whatever satisfaction those most concerned feel in the present matter is well placed and easily pardonable.
The organ realizes every expectation, and in some particulars a little more than that. The massed effect when the organs are thrown together in their full power, and when the soaring and shrill two-foot tones are molded into the more sober eight-foots, and the whole held in splendid check by the sonority of the combined pedal registers, the effect is powerful and impressive. The mass tone is dignified, richly colored withal, and majestic. It holds its balance with entire appeal to the ear, and out of the ensemble no strident of badly poised quality or quantity of tone obtrudes. This much everybody had a right to expect in such a fine instrument, but such things have been more often expected than realized.
The special beauties of this organ really deserve much more of detail than can be given here. All the solo stops are successful, perhaps none more so than the oboe of the swell, the clarinet, the "quint," and the gambe. But, then, these are only examples that happen to come into the view. Organ lovers especially enjoyed the various flute colorings, and spoke of them as rarely successful. And there could scarcely be a more melligenous tone combination than that of Salicional and Aeolian, a favorite of organists for the softer and delicate shades of work. But the glory of the modern organ, as far as solo effects are considered, is the vox humana, and the vox in the new organ is something better than successful. It is marvelous. Of course everybody knows that in the vox the attempt is made to imitate the peculiar timbre of the human voice. In the great European churches, where the sound can riot through lofty arches and down long naves before it reaches the ear, the effect is often marvelous and suggestive. But in this country the pipes have to be voiced with much greater delicacy and it is really something of a problem before the instrument is heard is all its parts whether the vox will be successful or not. Those who are interested in this detail will agree that they have never anywhere heard a sweeter, more eloquent, or appealing vox humana stop than this in St. Mary's organ. Used in certain combination last evening, when the organists threw out brighter arpeggios and wood tones against the vox humana, using latter in imitation of quartet there was a weird and mystical beauty about it that was thrilling. And so the organ colors might be discussed without limit and the instrument would bear the test nobly. As to the general balance, to recur to that again, there are one or two stops that add to the saltiness of the tone, like the string effect in the pedal organ, but which merely brighten without making any garish or strident. The molding is a singularly happy blending of brightness and moderation.
In spite of the fact that Dethier played from the classic as well as the modern school there was really no stronger appeal in the program than his own composition suggestive of the spirit of Christmastide. This is a gem of fancy, as well as of technical skill. It suggests in its opening the glory of that song that wings its way among the spheres-"Good will on earth." Then in the second part it changes to a pastoral, which suggests the dim light and the reverent group at the manger. And finally it swells into glory, with variations and permutations, on the theme of "Adeste Fidelis." This composition, being Mr. Dethier's own, is colored delightfully and with great care, and there are few possibilities that are not suggested by it. Another composition of his, intended merely to reveal colors and shades was composed for the occasion, and it proved most welcome, and filled with deft as well as of bold touches. There was a delicious episode in the Baldwin number, Burlesca and Melodia. The second part, with the theme uppermost, gave many registry possibilities which were taken advantage of to the constant entertainment and delight of the great audience. Dethier's Prelude in E minor, a published work, was well received. Its rapid arpeggios breaking into the shrill commanding of four and two foot tones, and the vivid lights thus developed, made a delightful variation in an entertaining program. "The storm" was a request number and its features are too well known to require description here. Most of it is noise, but a good deal of it is sweet.
As to Dethier himself-a rather small statured, pleasant featured young man-there is much that might be said. It is told of him that he was able to play a service in the church very well at 9. He has a face and head that denote intellectuality and grasp, and an expression at the instrument that reveals the artist. His techniques, especially his pedaling, is amazing. Taken generally, his technique is so much more crisp and so much more clean than the average concert organist's that the difference is marked. In the arduous work he was more than equal to the task and in the slower movements, like the Andantino of De Pauw, with its flute and string effects, he showed a most unmistakable comprehension and sympathy. Wilkes-Barre has seldom heard an organ performer so delightful. And the best of it is that notwithstanding the early fruition of his genius, Dr. Dethier acknowledges only 26 years of age, and he will have lots of opportunity to make himself known widely. Even now he is in almost constant demand.
The Wilkes-Barre Daily News
JANUARY 30, 1902
St. Mary's New Organ and Its Master's Touch
LAST EVENING'S CONCERT ONE OF
THE MUSICAL TREATS OF THE SEASON.
Chorus, And the Glory of the Lord..................Handel's Messiah
Prelude in E...........................................................Dethier
Recit., The Lord Worketh Wonders.............................Handel
Bass solo by J. P. Burns
Iste Confessor ...................................................Guilmant
Ave Maris Stella...............................................Saint Saens
'Cello obligato, Thomas Rippard. Solo, Miss Alberta O'Neill.
Grand Fantasie, The Storm (By Request)...................Lemmons
Chorus, Lift Up Your Heads..........................Handel's Messiah
The long looked for organ opening at old St. Mary's-though heralded by snow-could not dampen the ardor of the music loving votaries of Wilkes-Barre. From the well filled church it was evident that the audience brushed prudence aside to hear not only the well trained choir of St. Mary's, but likewise to witness the baptism of the organ by Professor Dethier, for years the well known organist of St. Francis' Xavier's church of New York City. The weather conditions of the evening were not such as to encourage outdoor exercise, but the parishioners of St. Mary's and its well wishers would not be balked in their determination to be present on an occasion which will in years long to come be looked back upon as a red letter day in the history of the parish.
Long before the doors were thrown open people stood waiting, and though outwardly mantled with snow their hearts warmed them with the anticipation of an enjoyable evening. The above program and the outbursts of expressions of unstinted praise are evidence sufficient that the program could hardly have been more judiciously and more satisfactorily selected.
Dr. Mason, with Mr. Shepherd as organist, opened the musical feast with a gem selection from Handel's Messiah entitled, And the Glory of the Lord. Its rendering was a pleasing forerunner of what was in store for the audience. From the opening bar the well trainedness of the choral part was in full evidence; and satisfactorily demonstrated the fact of patient toil and complete co-responsiveness on the part of the choir under the watchful eye of its painstaking director. With a full complement of sixty voices the effect was not only inspiriting but elevating, and answered the requirements of the most exacting critic.
Prof. Dethier introduced his well known ability with a work composed by himself especially for this occasion. Its modest title, a Prelude in E, strongly whetted the musical appetite, yet had a coloring of the Interlude to Gounod's Redemption. Its piano opening with a well studied and regular increscendo movement reminded one of the gentle zephyrs kissing the coteries of the Isle of Delos-gradually increasing until it burst forth in celestial harmony, redolent with one of the sublimest conceptions of man-the power of music. Together with the motif of this production, the nest most pleasing feature in connection with the composition was the pedal action, which was particularly difficult, yet masterly effective.
The Variations of Thiel with reed introduction, possessed a strong flavor of Gregorian Chant-devotional and elevating in the Church's peculiar minor strains. After a few bars of diminuendo and piano a gradual increase of harmonious flow of music began until the ever increasing power and volume developed into a defiant outburst of counterpoints as only such an organ could produce.
The Andantino by De Pauw opened with reed effect, soft, mellow, impressive, with an interspersion of weird minor chords and modulations, and which, from an inartistic standpoint, was entirely too short to be thoroughly appreciated.
The Christmas anthem, by Prof. Dethier, defies adequate description. A masterpiece demands a masterful interpreter and only the author of such a composition could render it as it was rendered Wednesday evening. It was unquestionably the gem of the evening and if the motive of the piece was to bring out the variety of effects of the organ, then the production, organist and instrument, corresponded in enviable and soulsoothing harmony. The Adeste in this composition breaks in so gently, so unexpectedly and yet so naturally, that it emphasizes the fact that it is the most devotional of hymns in the whole range of Catholic hymnology, and accompanied with fugue and full orchestral power, with staccato variations, demonstrated fully the capabilities of St. Mary's recent acquisition.
It reminds one of the Adeste as sung in monastery in the distance-of the Alpine Hospice of St. Bernard's. It is devotionally-expressively as is the highest degree and difficult, not only in its composition, but pronouncedly so in its rendition-except by a master hand, and that filled the requirements Wednesday evening.
It is somewhat regrettable that there were not more vocal selections; but if there were it would have been extremely difficult for a professional singer to have equaled J. P. Burns in his basso solo, The Lord Worketh Wonders. Or to have surpassed Miss Alberta O'Neill in her exquisite handling of Saint Saen's Ave Maris Stella. The 'cello obbligato by Thomas Rippard was accurate, faithful and satisfactorily rounded out the effectiveness of Miss O'Neill's solo.
The Storm, by Lemmens, was too masterfully intricate to obtain a full criticism here. Its plan and general scope and descriptive power was ably handled by Prof. Dethier and his interpretation may safely be styled inimitable.
All in all the program was entirely satisfactory and it would be puerile-owing to the responsiveness of the audience-to catalogue the recital as exceptionally classical. But classical it undoubtedly was and the healthy musical influence produced by Dr. Mason and Prof. Dethier will be lasting in its effects and will bear most abundant fruit in this historic valley.
Rev. Father McAndrews, performers and people, have pardonable cause for self-congratulation and may Wednesday evening's recital be only the end of the beginning.
The occasion acted as a magnet not only to the parishioners but from the following list of visiting priests may be gathered conclusive evidence that the attractiveness of the program acted as a magnet to music-loving devotees. The list of the attendant priests is as follows:
Rev. T. F. Kiernan, of Parsons; Rev. P. J. Colligan, of Plains; Rev. Edward O'Reilly, of East End; Revs. D. J. Brislin and John Griffin, of Scranton; Rev. John O'Donnell, of Olyphant; Rev. John Smoulter, of Rock Lake; Rev. Charles Goeckel, of St. Boniface; Revs. P. O. Nagle, Desselkanp and Van Welden, of St. Nicholas'; Rev. Father O'Malley, of Pittston; Revs. Fathers Lynott and Manley of Kingston.
The Wilkes-Barre Record JANUARY 30, 1902
IN HONOR OF ORGAN BUILDER
John N. Baumann last evening entertained a number of friends in honor of Mr. Abel of New York City, of the firm Muller & Abel, builders of the new organ in St. Mary's Church. There was a sumptuous spread, including pheasant, quail on toast and other varieties of game, and a genial company of twenty surrounded the board.
Muller and Abel also built organs for St. Nicholas' Church which has long since been removed and St. Leo's Church in Ashley. The small instrument in St. Leo's was recently rebuilt.