Tuesday, June 28 2022

The nearly 150-year-old organ that fills the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South Quarter with music received a routine tune-up ahead of the Easter holidays last week.

Over time, the organ pipes go out of tune due to dust and vibration, so the instrument is tuned twice a year – before Christmas and Easter services – to ensure that it sounds the best. Mike Eaton of Andover Organ Company had the honor of fitting the instrument’s pipes this year.

“The pipes go out of tune and sound a little sour, so we check them to make sure they’re in tune with the other pipes,” said Matthew Bellocchio, project manager at Andover Organ Company. “It’s like a chorus. If people sing out of tune, it doesn’t sound good. But if they all sing together in the right key, it sounds much better.

Built in 1875, the organ was last renovated in the 1930s and is now the responsibility of the Andover Organ Company, which has been restoring the instrument section by section for about 10 years, Bellocchio said.

The cathedral instrument is one of the largest organs built by the prominent 19th century organ company E. and GG Hook & Hastings, and has attracted international attention as a historic organ.

“It’s a great instrument, and it’s an honor for us to take care of such an important organ,” added Bellocchio.

Mike Eaton, a pipe organ tuner with Andover Organ Company in Lawrence, sits on a small board inside the organ that was built in 1875 to make adjustments. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
A view of some of the pipes inside the church organ, which was built in 1875. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Mike Eaton, a pipe organ tuner at Andover Organ Company in Lawrence, made adjustments to the organ.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Church organist Richard Clark, who has been playing the organ for several decades, checked the keys before the pipe organ tuner from Andover Organ Company arrived.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Annie Probert can be reached at [email protected]


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