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From The Organ Bench - No. 10 of 14

If God’s people respond generously with their financial resources, which ultimately determines that a new pipe organ can be built for St. Joseph Church, our organ committee, after more than two years of work, has settled on C.B. Fisk of Gloucester, Mass. to be the builder. There were four major factors that led to this decision: 1) St. James Episcopal, Richmond, Va. experience, 2) professional team approach of the builder, 3) proposed visual and specification design, and 4) 99-100% of all pipes in a Fisk organ are made by Fisk craftsmen.


On one organ committee field trip, our committee visited three installations of two different builders in the Williamsburg/Richmond area when we arrived at our final destination of the day, a Fisk organ at St. James Episcopal Church, Richmond. We were blown away by what we saw and heard. This instrument sang in a way the others had not. We didn’t know why, but would learn later – it’s all about who makes the pipes! Most American pipe organ

companies purchase their pipes from second-party suppliers. Fisk craftsmen make 99-100% of their pipework. Having this pipe-making ability means quality control is in-house and the pipe scalings are perfect for the St. Joseph Church, not approximate. Pipe-making is under the builder’s watchful care and eye. The builder is in control, not a supplier.


Working with Fisk to collect the information we would need to present to Msgr. Harris and the finance council, we were impressed at their team approach each team member specializing in some aspect of organ building. They were organized and creative, and no problem could not be solved. Also the Fisk visual and stop specification proposals were stunning, truly noteworthy, and truly Catholic, modeled after the French Roman Catholic organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899).


Brad Cunningham, Organist

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