St. Anne Roman Catholic Church
Castle Shannon, PA
The Church of St. Anne, part of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish, is an example of modern yet tasteful church architecture. When the church was built in the early 1960s the builders provided a sizable organ chamber above the chancel to the left. The organ has an interesting story. The majority of its pipes came from the 1901 W.W. Kimball organ originally installed at St. Paul Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh, and then relocated to the newly built cathedral in Oakland in 1906. When the Cathedral commissioned their monumental Rudolph von Beckerath organ in 1962, they donated the old instrument to St. Anne Church. Tellers Organ Company constructed a new three-manual instrument using a large portion of the Kimball pipework.
Over the years the instrument was modified several times with varying degrees of success. Several ranks of pipes were replaced, and a handful of additions were made. By 2010 the organ was in a rapidly accelerating decline as the Tellers chests and pneumatic console began to malfunction. Copious dead notes and ciphers plagued the organ, making it nearly impossible to play most organ repertoire. Many pipes installed in the 1980s had completely collapsed due to poor quality metal and inadequate racking, and many other pipes were damaged by careless movement within the chamber. After years of patchwork repairs it was clear that the organ would need to be replaced. After soliciting several proposals from diverse companies across the region, the church, under the musical leadership of Brendan Lowery, opted to embark upon a four-phase rebuilding project with us.
The first phase entailed replacing the worn out pneumatic stop tab console with a brand new three-manual draw knob console equipped with the latest solid state combination memory system. We constructed a custom designed white oak cabinet with walnut interior, and installed three new tracker-touch manuals with a large complement of thumb pistons. The console is crowned by a custom inlaid music rack featuring the cross medallion design found throughout the nave of the church. The console was connected to the old chamber relays with preparations made for successive phases of rebuilding. Phase 2 is slated to begin in early 2021.