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IN THE NEWS

HISTORIC PILCHER ORGAN BECOMES LATEST VICTIM OF NEGLECT

1910 Pilcher organ, Opus 708, has regrettably been lost to neglect and vandalism. What was an excellent example of the work of the Henry Pilcher's Sons firm, was abandoned-in-place in the former St. Francis De Salles Catholic Church after Hurricane Katrina damaged the building and forced closure of the parish. When the parish was officially closed in 2008, OHS members made repeated attempts to gain access in order to preserve the organ against further damage. This was to no avail however, and it has now been learned that vandals have removed the pipe work and left the remainder of the instrument as unsalvageable.

This sad and unnecessary loss to our city, gives reason to pause and reconsider whether it is in the best interest of historic instruments to allow them to remain in abandoned facilities where they are in obvious jeopardy, or whether they should be removed and stored in safe quarters to avoid just this type of loss by neglect and vandalism.

 

ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL THIBODAUX TO RECEIVE ORGAN UPGRADE

We are pleased to report that St. John's Church in Thibodaux is receiving an upgrade to their Ferrand and Votey instrument. The organ, which was originally installed by James Hammann, is currently undergoing work by Roy Redman's firm, to include a more suitable console that matches the present decor of the church. The organ was originally located by Dr. Carol Britt, and brought to Thibodaux from its former home at the Episcopal Mission in North Carolina. We have been informed that the organ should be reinstalled by Christmas.

FORMER THIRD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH CONVERTED TO MEDIA STUDIO

A recent article in the New Orleans Times Picayune tells the story of a recycled New Orleans church building that had been closed in 2004 due to declining membership. The former Third Presbyterian Church, which had stood for almost a century on Esplanade Avenue at the corner of North Broad, was further damaged in Hurricane Katrina. In 2010, the building was purchased by former Russian ballet performer Misha Kachkachishvili, who oversaw its restoration and conversion into a media center which he calls The Sanctuary Of Sound. The building still houses an original Moller organ which was part of the Carnegie Organ donations program of the early 20th. Century. The instrument has been kept in tact and Kachkachishvili is working with organ consultants to ultimately rebuild it to its original state, and with the intention of having it available for recording and performance use in his professional state-of-the-art studio setting.

In an era when most of us are constantly working to prevent the destruction of existing organs, we salute Mr. Kachkachishvili for his recognition of the value of historic pipe organs in the modern world of music.

 

FOR FURTHER NEWS OF CONCERTS, RECITALS AND OTHER ORGAN RELATED ACTIVITIES IN THE OHS NEW ORLEANS SERVICE AREA, PLEASE SEE THE DOWNLOADABLE CHAPTER NEWSLETTER THAT IS AVAILABLE ON OUR HOME PAGE.

 


 

RACHELEN LIEN AWARDED TOP HONOR FROM O.H.S.

by Benjie Branson:

NATIONAL ORGAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AWARD:
Rachelen Lien, New Orleans pianist, organist, educator and researcher of historic organs, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Organ Historical Society. This is the highest national award given by the Organ Historical Society. It is awarded for significant contributions of the highest order for the promotion of the society.

Mrs. Lien has discovered many historic organs in Louisiana and Mississippi, and has contributed to the care and proper refurbishing of these organs. Many churches and synagogues have come to have a greater appreciation of their historic instruments through her untiring efforts.

Mrs. Lien has been on the national council of the Organ Historical Society for the past six years. She was founding president of the New Orleans chapter of the Organ Historical Society in 1981. Because of her work with historic organs, we now hear these voices from the past.

 

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