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On March 11, Bishop John Barres made a pastoral visit to St. Hyacinth Church, Glen Head, where he celebrated the Saturday evening Mass and dedicated the parish’s newly installed pipe organ.
Bishop Barres blessed the instrument at the beginning of the liturgy, reading special prayers from the altar before climbing the steps to the choir loft to sprinkle holy water on the organ. Following the Mass, Rollin Smith, the parish’s music director and organist, played four pieces during a 20-minute recital, drawing applause from the bishop, clergy and members of the congregation.
According to Smith, St. Hyacinth had been searching for an affordable pre-owned pipe organ for two years to replace a “failed electronic organ” that had served the parish since the mid-1980’s, when the church was erected. An organ builder in Poland informed Father Marian Bicz, the parish pastor, of a church in Ottobeuren, Germany, that was looking to sell its organ. Father Bicz contacted the church and subsequently agreed to purchase the instrument. Arrangements were made to have the 38-year-old Oberlinger organ dismantled, crated and shipped to New York from Germany.
It took a team of four craftsmen and several parish volunteers four weeks to assemble and install the 24-rank mechanical-action organ with 1,240 pipes. The acquisition of the instrument was financially supported by a donation made in memory of deceased parishioners Joseph and Ruth Pollio.
“It is really an amazing feat to have such an instrument on Long Island,” said Smith, who’s been the parish’s music director for 17 years. “It’s absolutely beautiful.”
(Photo and video by Gregory A. Shemitz)