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A mechanical pipe organ is a very rare site in Siberia.  In Russia, It is so exotic and special that it naturally brings people.  Classical and contemporary organ music concerts are very popular here and some come to Mass just to listen to the organ. On October 8th, 2023, in a symbolic and also very real way, a divided world came together for a moment  in Novosibirsk, Russia.  Bishop Joseph Werth, SJ blessed the brand-new Diego Cera Opus  # 40 baroque pipe organ which then played its inaugural concert that evening.

The idea of building a real pipe organ was the result of a discernment made by the INIGO Cultural Center in the fall of 2016.  In 2017, with help of the late Fr. Johann Trummer from Graz, Austria, INIGO and the Catholic Diocese of the Transfiguration formed a partnership which enlisted Cealwyn Tagle of Diego Cera Organ Builders to build a new instrument in the best of Austrian and German organ building traditions.  Mr. Tagle had received his training outside of Vienna and in Germany.  This spring, after a long six years, the organ finally arrived this past May by shipping container from Manila (Las Pinas) in the Philippines.  It was installed and voiced in July and August.   

The blessing and the inaugural gala concert were well publicized on radio and television.  Over twenty-five of Novosibirsk’s professional musicians performed in a two hour program of classical music featuring organ, celo, violin, flute, clarinet, saxophone and vocals.  The church was filled to capacity, and included the Papal Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Giovanni D’ Agnello and local and state cultural and government officials.  

The organ has 24 musical stops and two accessory stops, a zimbelstern and “pajaritos”, singing birds.  The organ also features  Spanish chamade trumpet pipes. These features add to its charm and uniqueness in Siberia.  With its two keyboards and pedals and over 1500 pipes, the organ creates so many wonderful tones and sounds!  Concert organists from the big cites of Moscow and St. Petersburg are now waiting in line in order to perform on this new treasure.

It took six years to design, construct, ship and install this new organ.  This is longer than usual.  Covid-19 and the current geopolitical situation accounted for much of the “time lost”.  But, only when the organ began to play, did we realize that it came at a perfect time, exactly in the right moment for it to bring on its full significance.  It is now a sign of hope, light and unity to the praying congregation, as well as to concert goers.  It is a symbol of how the impossible can become possible in an impossible time.  After six years of talking about “the new pipe organ”, many had already considered it a myth, just a pipe dream(!); but then it came, just when we needed a confirmation that all is not bad… there is still Good News!

 

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