skip to main content

University Church Organ Plays its Swan Song


After 133 years of service, the University Church’s Roosevelt Tracker organ played its last song on June 10.

The day after the church was the site of the ordination of three new priests for the Society of Jesus, construction crews began setting up scaffolding along the back and unrolling plastic sheeting to protect the pews.

By June 25, the loft had been cleared out, and an opening to the church tower that had been obscured by the organ pipes is now visible. While the keyboard portion of the old organ was too worn out to be re-used, the pipes and the smaller organ in the front of the church have found a new home at Church of the Annunciation in Crestwood.

The new custom made organ is currently being assembled at Schoenstein & Co. in Benicia, CA. Robert Minotti, director of Fordham University Choirs, is scheduled to fly out to the factory to give it a final test run on July 14, at which point it will be disassembled and transported across country in five tractor trailers. It is expected to arrive at Rose Hill on August 14, when installation will begin.

Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, vice president for University Mission and Ministry, said the $2 million project would not have been possible without the generosity of Stephen E. Bepler, FCRH ’64, his wife Kim B. Bepler, the late George Doty, FCRH ’38, the Brian and Joelle Kelly Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

“Our hope is to have a formal celebratory dedication of the new organs next spring with several smaller gatherings featuring noted guest organists,” he said.

“The contractors are now moving forward full steam on our very exciting project that will culminate in late October with the installation of two new world class church organs.”

Director of Fordham University Choirs Robert Minotti plays several hymns on the original organ shortly before it is dismantled.
Photo by Patrick Verel
The University Church altar as seen through the pipes in the original organ on June 6.
Photo by Patrick Verel
The opening to the church tower that had been obscured by the organ pipes, as seen on June 25.
Photo by Chris Taggart
The now empty church loft, ready for renovation, on June 25.
Photo by Chris Taggart
The University Church interior, draped with plastic sheeting, on June 25.
Photo by Chris Taggart
An artists rendering of the new organ.
Contributed Photo

Comments are closed.