Tignish pipe organ ready to ring out

The 128-year-old pipe organ at St. Simon & St. Jude Catholic Church in Tignish will soon be once again welcoming parishioners to service.
The pipe organ is back in the Tignish church and is being reassembled after being refurbished. (CBC)

The 128-year-old pipe organ at St. Simon & St. Jude Catholic Church in Tignish will soon be once again welcoming parishioners to service.

The organ, disassembled and shipped to Montreal in January, is back from restoration work. Workers are now in Tignish to put the thousands of pieces back together again.

Reassembly will take a week, and the crew will need another 10 days after that to tune the organ, Steve Sinclair of Juget-Sinclair Organbuilders in Montreal, said Thursday.

In addition to restoring and replacing worn parts, craftsmen have returned the organ to its original pitch.

"We're putting it back to its original condition," Juget-Sinclair said. "That means musicians who come here can hear it the way it sounded originally."

The pipe organ in Tignish is nearly ready to be played again. ((CBC))
The organ should be ready to play later this month, church organist Antoinette Perry said.

"June 22 is the target date. Hopefully the tuning and voicing will be done by then — that's every pipe; there's 1,118 pipes. Every one has to be tuned," Perry said.

"The work they did is amazing, really. I had no idea there was that much work involved in it."

A series of public recitals are slated for July.

The organ was built in 1882 by Louis Mitchell, a Montreal organ builder. It's one of only four of its kind still in existence.

The community collected money for years to pay for restoration. The church now needs to pull out all the stops, and raise the last $20,000 of the overall $150,000 cost.

Parishioners figure it's a sound investment.

"Can't wait to hear it — Antoinette play that organ again," Laureen Handrahan said. "We'll hear it all over the village."

Perry said she's been told that the organ, which will be 129-years-old in October, will be "good for another 129 [years], so, there you go."