Aeolian-Skinner, Boston, 1961, Opus 1343. Designed and Voiced by Joseph Whiteford
The Cathedral organ, designed, built and installed by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, consists of three divisions and pedals plus a gallery division, totaling more than 4,000 pipes. The pipes are installed in two chambers high above the entrance from the crossing to the chancel, with four ranks and the state trumpets mounted above the balcony just under the Rose Window, at the west end of the Cathedral. In 2000, the console underwent major renovation and received new keyboards, drawknobs, digital combination action and digital control for all the pipework, which was done by Marceau and Associates Pipe Organ Builders of Portland, Oregon.
An instrument of this size (86 stops) would normally be played from a console of four or even five manuals. But this organ is built with only three manuals in order to coincide with the tonal design—the gallery division being playable from any of the three manuals. The state trumpets are hooded and voiced so that they can be played in ensemble with the full chorus.
The console is located on the north side of the Great Choir. The Great and Swell divisions are located above the south Choir chamber, the Choir and Pedal divisions above the north Choir and the Gallery under the Rose Window.
The Cathedral’s authentic Gothic architecture and construction materials combined with the artistry of the organ’s design create an outstanding environment for organ music.
On February 28, 2021, the St. John's Music Series featured the organ, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of its installation. Click HERE for this informative and enjoyable behind-the-scenes look at the instrument that produces such beautiful music, or watch the video on the inset below.