Remarkable Instrument!

Richard D'Amore, Associate Director of Music & Parish Organist

St. Gabriel Church, Saddle River, NJ

Words are difficult to find to express our admiration and complete satisfaction with the sounds that this magnificent organ produces. The organ has elicited raves from the local organ community and anyone who has experienced it including Ken Cowan, Gordon Turk, Eric Knapp and Joanne Rodland.

First and foremost is the ingenuity of the design. A rather modest instrument of three manuals, thirty-one ranks, it truly rivals organs of twice the resources. When Ken Cowan, who gave the dedicatory concert, was told the number of ranks, he replied "well it certainly doesn't know it, does it?" The voicing is unparalleled in its evenness and beauty of tone. The softest sounds melt in the air (Gordon Turk said he coveted the Flute Celeste) while the triumphant reeds fill the space without overpowering. It is rare that the smaller reeds such as the Oboe and Clarinet can be used so effectively in the ensemble. In addition, the visual design is stunning with the cases being remarkable in their beauty. Perhaps most importantly, it looks like it has been an integral part of the church since its inception. The instrument blends with the interior design of the church in a way that could not have been imagined. It truly enhances the interior of the church and pulls together all of the elements into a truly cohesive whole. The craftsmanship seen in the various components is impeccable. Our local organ technicians constantly comment on the workmanship of the wood finishing and the pipework.

One of the main features of the organ is the complete flexibility that the instrument affords the organist. The inclusion of the Solo third manual, which is drawn from the Great and Swell, provides unlimited possibilities. For example, the ability to play the Great Trumpet on all three manuals enables a wide variety of accompaniment. One is able to play the Great Trumpet on the Solo manual and accompany it on either the Great or the Swell. This manual has been a godsend in registering the various types of music that is used in our church.

The organ does all that it was meant to do. It leads the congregation without pulling out all the stops building to a gradual crescendo when appropriate. I can honestly say that the congregational singing has improved. The way it supports the choir is truly amazing and solo voices are caressed. The effect is likened to a pearl on velvet. It is able to play the entire organ literature in a truly convincing fashion. From Pre-Bach to the twentieth century the organist is able to find some registration that will fit the period.

More than this, one cannot ask. The congregation, music staff, choirs and visitors are totally taken with this remarkable instrument. It has proven to be a work of art whose sole purpose is the honor and glory of God. We thank you and your staff for giving us an instrument that will be cherished for generations to come.

Sincerely, Richard A. D'Amore
Associate Director of Music/Organist
St. Gabriel the Archangel Church
Saddle River, NJ

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