O.H.S.-N.O. MEMBERS RECEIVE INVITATION TO VIEW NOACK ORGAN
Rachelen Lien announced that the chapter has received an invitation to view a Noack Tracker organ which is located in a private home in Meaux, Louisiana, a town located about 2.5 hours west of New Orleans. The primary invitation is for a recital on Sunday, October 19th at 3:30 PM which will feature organist Peter Sykes. For those unable to attend, because of Sunday commitments, the owner has extended a second invitation to our members to attend an open house/organ crawl on the preceeding day, Saturday October 18th. Time will need to be finalized once we know who will be attending. If you plan to attend either function, please contact Rachelen at (504) 899-1139.
See the latest issue of the "Swell Shoe"
MEMORIAL TO DR. ALBERT BARRY HENRY
a true New Orleans friend of the pipe organ
Albert Barry Henry, MD., a noted New Orleans radiologist and theatre organist, passed away on September 23rd after a long battle with cancer. Dr. Henry is best known in organ circles for his work with City Lights, a group he formed to save the New Orleans Saenger Theatre when it was in danger of demolition. In addition to being a physician and graduate of Tulane Medical School, Dr. Henry was a trained pianist and organist, and his passion was saving the 26 rank Robert Morton Wonder Organ housed in the New Orleans Saenger. With his own funds, he restored the organ to playing condition in the 1970s after E.B. Basile purchased and restored the theatre. Barry often played the Morton for Saturday afternoon recitals that were held in the early '70s. In addition to his work at the Saenger, he also financed and restored an early 1900's Anton Gottfried organ that was installed in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Orleans, and he was an active participant in the restoration and enlargement of the Wicks theatre organ at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ponchatoula, and the Wurlitzer organ located at the Republic of West Florida Museum in Jackson, Louisiana. During his life, Dr. Henry preserved many artifacts that were being discarded from the Saenger during its various ownership changes, and his home had become a private museum honoring the life of Julian Saenger and the Saenger theatre chain.
Barry also created a website, along with fellow organist and historian Bill Hooper, which honors the history of the entire Saenger chain. It remains in his memory at www.saengeramusements.com.
Rare Debierre Organ Saved
The OHS extant list in the 1970’s indicated that an organ by the French builder, Louis Debierre was in Moreauville, LA. The organ was seen by Roy Redman and later by Rachelen Lien and Sydney Boner. At. that time the organ was in the possession of Monsignor John Timmermans. He tells us the amazing story of this organ in his own words:
“The old organ was in the choir loft of St. Peter Catholic Church in Bordelonville, LA. The pastor was Monsignor Isidore Dekeulaer, who was from Belgium. When I was visiting him (around 1960) he
showed it to me and I was very impressed. Monsignor Dukeulaer retired in 1969 and went back to his native country to take care of his older and blind brother (also a priest). He died unexpectedly in 1971.
“To my great surprise, he left the organ to me in his will. One of his successors (Fr. James Aroy) called me around 1978 to get some people to move the organ out of the choir loft because they were restoring the church. I moved the organ to my workshop for preservation. I found that in the history of that church several priests were from Belgium. I feel fairly certain that Fr. Henry Jacquemin who was an excellent musician and organist brought the organ to this country. It resided in my garage until March 2012.
Roy Redman expressed an interest in restoring this organ, and in March 2012 he acquired the organ. It now resides in his shop in Fort Worth. We are grateful to Father Timmermans for keeping this organ from destruction.
Here are the organ’s particulars:
Mechanical Key & Stop Action
67 keys FFF to b” – transposing 7 half-tones
Completely enclosed with swell shades on top of the organ operated by a knee lever.
16’ Quintaton Ten. C, divided
8’ Bourdon, divided
4’ Flute, divided
8’ Diapason, treble
8’ Violoncello, treble
Organ 60” x 39” x 56”
Louis Debierre, the son of a carpenter, was born in Nantes in 1842. He built his first organ in Nantes at the Church of Our Lady of All Joys. This instrument was followed by many others. The firm built over 600 organs. Many were small choir organs such as the one found in Louisiana. Much information about Debierre is available on line. Although the writing is all in French you may request an English translation.