THE ORGAN has always been considered, and rightly so, the king of musical instruments, because it takes up all the sounds of creation and gives resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation.
By transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, it evokes the Divine. The organ’s great range of timbre, from piano through to a thundering fortissimo, makes it an instrument superior to all others. It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way reminds us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.
Pope Benedict XVI
In late 2004, Eugene and Faye Sitzmann responded to the parish’s plea for a new instrument with a generous offer to fund the entire cost of the magnificent pipe organ that graces the loft at Nativity of Our Lord Church today. The Sitzmanns, presented their gift as an expression of gratitude for the blessings that music has brought to their lives and to help preserve the deep musical traditions that enliven and enrich the Catholic faith. When presenting their generous donation, the Sitzmanns noted their hope that the gift would “continue the fine tradition of giving thanks and praise for the honor and glory of God through music.”
The Sitzmann Organ, Casavant Opus 3855, consists of forty stops, 52 ranks of pipes deployed over four divisions: Great, Swell, and Positiv, all played by the hands, and the Pedal division, played by the feet. Its 2,882 pipes range in height from more than 16 feet to less than six inches. Pipe diameters also range broadly, from more than a foot to the diameter of a pencil. The resulting pitches span nine octaves. The vast majority of the pipework is an alloy of tin and lead. The composition of the alloy varies from 75 percent tin for principal stops to 22 percent tin for flute stops. The instrument’s wooden pipes are constructed from yellow poplar. The console has three manual keyboards with 61 notes each and a 32-note pedal board, played by the feet. It features 76 engraved rosewood drawknobs and thirteen tilting tablets for couplers.