From his appointment as Pastor of St. Pius X Parish, the late Father John O’Brien had a dream of creating a far more beautiful parish church that would reflect a more Catholic environment for prayer and worship. After Father O’Brien’s death, Father Sebastian worked tirelessly to make the vision of a new Church of St. Pius X a reality by working with professionals and volunteers and raising the necessary funds for the renovation. In Phase I, the worship space was renovated; and in Phase II, the Narthex (or church lobby) with Mary’s Chapel, a religious education office, new bathrooms, hospitality kitchenette and donation closets was completed, the outdoor Stations of the Cross were installed, the outdoor meditation garden was built and the parking lot was repaved. In the final phase of the renovation, Phase III, Father Sebastian dreamed that the church would have a new pipe organ. JoAnn M. Tursone shared Father Sebastian’s love for music so in her Last Will and Testament, she generously donated $600,000 towards the purchase and installation of a pipe organ for the Church of St. Pius X.
Pipe Organ Committee:
Mary T. Ingriselli
Michael Goodman (Former Music Director)
The Church of St. Pius X Pipe Organ
Many elements of our parish’s ministries excel and have been emulated and admired by other parishes, including our music ministry. Music is an essential component of the liturgies at St. Pius X; it brings our prayer and worship to life resulting in a deeper spiritual and communal experience for our congregation. Our music ministry is a multi-faceted model that consists of the St. Pius X Choir, the St. Pius X Festival Choir, our religious education music program, our roster of professional cantors, organists and guest musicians as well as our Concerts@SPX series where we have hosted an Evening of Opera, the Harlem Gospel Choir, the Philippine Madrigal Singers and a Night of Broadway.
As our parish expands its music ministries, using the new pipe organ in our sanctuary will allow us to enhance our programs. The SPX Pipe Organ Committee interviewed five pipe organ builders and visited many churches to listen to different pipe organs over the course of seven months. In May 2015, the committee chose the well-known firm of Russell and Company from Chester, Vermont to build and install the new pipe organ.
Russell and Company was founded in 1976 to serve tuning and maintenance needs but expanded its facilities in 1979 to include the building of pipe organs. The company’s founder and director, Stephen J. Russell, received his education at RPI and Westminster Choir College. After graduation, he apprenticed under Timen Koelewijn, the noted Dutch-American pipe maker and organ builder.
In December 2015, the organ layout and structure were finalized based on final drawings from our architect and engineers, and in May 2016, Russell and Company began the production of the St. Pius X Pipe Organ. The SPX Pipe Organ Committee visited Russell and Company in November 2016 and November 2017 to check on the progress of the pipe organ. In January, preparations to the back of the church for the installation of the pipe organ began. Preparations should be completed by May 2018 at which time the installation of the new pipe organ will begin. The installation is projected to be completed in September 2018.
Description of the Church of St. Pius X Pipe Organ
The organ will have three independent divisions, Great, Swell and Pedal, controlled by an electric action console with two manual keyboards and one pedal keyboard. The console case has been made of solid Honduras mahogany (from the last of the builder’s stock) and walnut in the
style of instruments made by noted American organ builder E. M. Skinner. The console has an internal dolly which allows it to be easily moved for the convenience of the music director when conducting the choir, and will allow the organ to be played in the front of the church, should the need arise, during organ recitals or concerts.
The organ will have 51 stops controlling 37 ranks (sets of pipes) with a total of 2,105 pipes ranging in length from 16 feet to one quarter of an inch. A rank of pipes is not unlike an orchestral instrument, in that each rank offers its own unique tonal quality. Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Trumpet voices are all represented in addition to the organ’s unique foundation of Diapason tone which will create a colorful and versatile ensemble well suited to meet the needs of both liturgical and concert music.
The visible part of the organ case will be made of Sapele, a mahogany look alike species, with a gold finish, and will encase the visible front of the largest speaking pipes.
The organ will have several special features including a Solo Harmonic Trumpet voiced on high wind pressure to add tonal excitement to the instrument, Chimes, and a full MIDI interface to assist the organist in using the instrument as a true music workstation.
The Church of St. Pius X Pipe Organ is expected to cost $1,050,000 ($850,000 for the custom-made pipe organ and installation; and an estimated $200,000 to prepare the back of the church). Of this amount, our late parishioner, JoAnn M. Tursone, donated $600,000. The remaining amount will be raised as part of the required Archdiocese of New York Renew + Rebuild campaign. Any excess funds raised for our parish will be used to maintain our new pipe organ, to create a music fund to support and expand our Concerts@SPX series and to increase our parish’s reserve funds.
Archdiocese of New York Renew + Rebuild
In 2015, the Archdiocese of New York commenced a historic archdiocesan-wide capital campaign, Renew + Rebuild, to strengthen local parish communities while at the same time providing critical funds to sustain Catholic schools, support needy parishes, foster evangelization and lay leadership formation and provide resources for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In August 2017, as part of this campaign, the Archdiocese asked St. Pius X to raise $921,500 (the computation is based on our 3-year offertory gifts multiplied by 1.89 which is equal to $830,000 plus $91,000 for the 2018 Cardinal’s Stewardship Appeal). Accordingly, the parish is launching the final phase, Phase III, of our renovation campaign, Bringing Our Vision to Life, to complete the vision for a new Church of St. Pius X.
Seventy-four percent of the $830,000 ($614,570), raised by our parish as part of the Renew + Rebuild campaign, will be available for our parish. These funds will be used to cover the costs of the pipe organ not covered by JoAnn’s gift, to fund the creation of a music fund for our Concerts @SPX series and to increase our parish’s reserves. Twenty-six percent of the funds ($215,930 plus $91,000 for the Cardinal’s Appeal) will be used to support archdiocesan needs. All funds raised in excess of $921,000 will be used for our parish’s needs.
Opportunities for Giving
Donations towards Phase III of Bringing Our Vision to Life and the Archdiocese’s Renew + Rebuild campaign can be made over one to five years and paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Gifts of cash or marketable securities (and matching gifts, if applicable from employers) are the preferred methods of giving to the campaign. Other forms of giving such as deferred gifts are acceptable and may offer qualified donors an attractive alternative, enabling them to significantly increase the level of their gifts. Together, let us fulfill the vision!
Memorial and Naming Opportunities
Every member of our parish has an opportunity to participate in completing the vision for a new Church of St. Pius X by donating towards the new Church of St. Pius X Pipe Organ. A series of specific memorial gifts or naming opportunities are available for you to contribute to the parish’s musical future. The suggested donation for each memorial gift or naming opportunity is listed on the response form. Simply select an item from the Memorial and Naming Opportunities list and call the Parish Office at (914) 725-2755 to reserve the item and then fill out the pledge card and return it by mail to the rectory.
Leadership donors of $100,000 and above will be acknowledged at the back of the church where the Church of St. Pius X Pipe Organ will be installed and donors of $5,000 and above will be acknowledged on the glass memorial Wall of Donors in the Narthex.