June 2020

About a month into the COVID shutdown, Jacquelin Rochette of Casavant wrote to Fr. MacEachen and suggested that now would be a good time to proceed with the replacement of the organ’s console, and blower and bellows.

Fr. MacEachen consulted with the wardens and they agreed, and at the beginning of May, Mr. Rochette came to Ascension to meet with Fr. MacEachen, and wardens Pino DiIoia, Bonnie Auger and Don Taddeo, to discuss it further — respecting the distancing protocol throughout!

Mr. Rochette and his colleagues spent some time assessing the logistics of removing the console from the organ, putting it on a lift to lower it to ground level, and then moving it into the van for transport to the Casavant workshop in St. Hyacinthe.

In addition, they examined the storage room to the right of the church door, in the vestibule, and confirmed there would be more than enough room to suspend the new blower and bellows for the organ from the closet ceiling.

The current blower and bellows are the “originals” installed in 1928. They are about 5 feet high and almost equally wide, and are located in the unfinished sub-basement below the church. Because of their age and especially their location, they tend to blow quite a lot of dirt and dust into the organ mechanisms and pipes — all of which throws off the instrument’s tuning and makes it all the more difficult to keep the sound consistent.

Subsequent to these inspections, Mr. Rochette discussed the final pricing for the console replacement and the purchase and installation of a new blower and bellows. It was agreed that the proposal would be submitted formally to Fr. MacEachen for review with the wardens. This was done the very next day, and following an email consultation, the wardens were unanimous in their agreement that the project should proceed.

Mr. Rochette informed us that the new console should be ready for installation before Christmas 2020, and that the same applies to the blower and bellows.

Our next posting will deal with some of the characteristics of the new console that will be installed, as well as the benefits to be derived from the installation of a modern blower and bellows.