Parish News & Information

Parish News & Information

Our Pipe Organ

From Ed Eicker, Our Music Director:

I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, the organ still works. The bad news is that much of the organ doesn’t work, and the portions that do work could soon fail and result in an organ that’s completely unusable. Last fall, Andrea and I began seeking a new maintenance company to service St. Paul’s pipe organ. The company we had been using for 15+ years was becoming increasingly unreliable and it was time to sever ties with them and find one that could better suit or needs. Through research and several recommendations we began working with J.L. Weiler, Inc., a company that not only maintains but also restores pipe organs.

Jeff Weiler is the president of J.L. Weiler, Inc. and does a significant amount of the legwork for the company, traveling all over the United States, Canada, and Europe to oversee numerous projects. Mr. Weiler has made several trips to St. Paul’s, on occasion accompanied by Simon Couture, the Vice President of Casavant Frères, the builders of our organ. Upon inspection of our organ both Mr. Weiler and Mr. Couture brought to our attention several serious problems. Mr. Weiler suggested a full evaluation of the organ so we could then have a clearer idea of what we were dealing with and how we should address the issues.

A few of Mr. Weiler’s findings include the following:

  1. The organ wasn’t properly installed. In fact, some aspects of the organs design and construction are unstable and dangerous, posing a liability to St. Paul’s. Heavy wind chests are resting on unbalanced and poorly secured racks that could fall at any time and without warning. The center division of pipes is improperly balanced and could potentially collapse.
     
  2. Improper installation and missing parts: The organ console (the part where Andrea and I sit to play) is unoriginal and was taken from an old electronic organ. The original wind system is missing. The current system doesn’t provide steady wind pressure and makes the organ’s tuning unpleasant at times.
     
  3. The organ’s pipes:
  • The organ is missing over 700 pipes. That’s nearly 1/3 or the organ’s pipe-work.
  • Many pipes are bent or damaged from improper handling or careless tuning.
  • 208 of the organ’s pipes no longer make a sound when played. They are dead.

 

In light of their assessment of St. Paul’s organ, both Jeff Weiler and Simon Couture recommended that we immediately begin looking into replacing St. Paul’s failing organ. Because of the organ’s poor installation 30 years ago, combined with the myriad of problems the organ suffers from now, restoration of our organ would not be cost-effective and the results, disappointing. In fact, this echoes the opinion that was expressed back in 1992 when then-organist Fred Krieger considered plans to completely replace the organ.


Watch the weekly bulletin for additional details on the following topics:

  • The organ’s day-to-day issues and how it affects the organist, liturgy and parish
  • The role of the organ at St. Paul of the Cross
  • Some things to consider as we address St. Paul’s failing pipe organ.

 

Read the full report of Jeff Weiler’s assessment

 

Read a summary of Jeff Weiler's assessment


 

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel