The first Evensong service of the 2022–2023 school year began with a welcome sound: the Roosevelt Family Pipe Organ. The evening culminated a nearly three-year refurbishing process following the October 2019 tornado that damaged much of campus.
On that stormy night, winds gusting at up to 165 miles per hour sheared bricks and copper roofing off the Chapel. The next morning, pools of water were found throughout the organ loft and even inside the organ case itself.
Just five years after it was originally installed, the organ was carefully disassembled and shipped back to its original home: the Orgues Létourneau workshop in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. All 27 members of the Létourneau team took part in the extensive rebuild. A large portion of the organ’s wooden casework, internal structure, windchests and related components including many of the organ’s wooden pipes were replaced. Additionally, each of the 3,432 original metal organ pipes had to be individually inspected and restored. The School also took this opportunity to modify the wood finish on the organ console’s stops and keys to better match the Chapel wood stain.
Work continued through the pandemic and finally, in spring 2022, a pair of 18-wheelers arrived on campus carrying the organ in thousands of carefully packaged crates. Over several weeks, crews from Létourneau meticulously installed and tuned the instrument. The reinstallation process was completed just in time for the Class of 2022’s Baccalaureate service in May.
The Roosevelt Family Pipe Organ was dedicated in 2015. It is modeled after great English pipe organs and has accompanied the St. Mark’s Choir and congregation during Chapel services, Choral Evensong, Lessons & Carols and more. The metal pipes adorning the façade are just a handful of the 3,432 wood and metal pipes that make up the instrument, the longest of which measures 32 feet long.