Work of the Organ Committee
Prior to Janet Marks handing the baton to David Cochrane, director of music, and Brad Cunningham, organist, in March 2019, work toward building a new pipe organ had already begun. In fact, several proposals from different organ builders were on file in the music office. In January 2019 when Mr. Cochrane and Mr. Cunningham interviewed with a church musician search committee Mr. Cochrane and Mr. Cunningham, were given a mandate to move the project forward. Eleven months later, November 2019, a professional organ consultant, Scott Reidell & Associates, was hired and an organ committee was formed.
The purpose of the committee was to explore possible avenues for moving the organ project forward. The goal was to gather as much information as possible in order to have something concrete to present to Msgr. Harris and the parish Finance Council. Questions needed to be answered e.g., “Who would build a new organ? What might a new pipe organ look like in the church? How long would it take to build a pipe organ? How much would it cost? How do we discern God’s will regarding this possible project?”
After narrowing down a list of 40 possible pipe organ firms, the organ committee visited seven installations of four organ companies. They travelled to Augusta, Ga., Williamsburg and Richmond, Va., Buffalo and Canandaigua, NY, and Raleigh, NC. Here are the churches and organ installations visited.
One additional instrument of a fifth different builder was visited in Atlanta by Mr. Cunningham at the height of the pandemic when it was not safe for everyone to go. After much discernment and discussion, three out of five potential builders were eliminated. The other two potential builders were invited to Columbia.
After more than two years of work, the organ committee settled on C.B. Fisk of Gloucester, Mass. to be the builder should God make a way for this to happen. The committee’s decision was announced to Msgr. Harris Jan. 15, 2022.