Friday, May 12, was an exciting and beautiful day for those who gathered to tour the Casavant Organ factory in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec. We began our visit to the Casavant facility at 8 a.m. on Friday morning in the Westin Hotel lobby in Montreal, Quebec. Using GPS, we carefully made our way via the busy city expressways of Montreal to the small town of Saint Hyacinthe, arriving in about an hour. We were greeted by Dany Wiseman, our project developer (below in the grey shirt), and took a moment for a photo in front of the factory under the distinctive Casavant sign. L-R our group was: Lynn Grapp (Laurel’s sister), Kevin Johnson, Sue Broward, Laurel Bennett, Marty Broward, Scott Garrett, Elease Latimer.
We then began our tour of two buildings that make up the factory, which were built in 1917 and 1927. Among other interesting things, we saw the rooms where they store the metal and wood to make the pipes.
Our first stop was the table where they pour metal to make the metal pipes. We then moved on to a room where they give voice to metal pipes.
The voicer, Alexandre Cloutier (pictured here), will be one of the folks coming to voice our instrument on site in July. In another of the voicing rooms was our Herald Trumpet that will be located at the back of the church and dedicated to The Reverend David Moores. The copper pipes are stunning!
The highlight of the tour came next. We were taken into one of the assembly rooms where the organ for Saint Alfred’s was set up. I got to play the instrument and it is magnificent! Some stops were not yet playing, and the console was without its shell. There were cardboard covers on the pedals and a special plastic covering on the keys to protect the instrument during shipping, but I was able to play and it is magnificent even in its unfinished state! I played several hymns of praise and thanksgiving, some Bach, Mendelssohn, Bedard, and Fedak. Several of the people who came to listen were moved to tears.
After a half hour of trying the organ, we were treated to a delicious lunch which ended with cake in celebration of the special event. During the lunch we met several of the staff at the Casavant factory and the people who will be involved in the installation of our instrument in June. I believe we were all filled with gratitude, and joyfully anticipate the delivery of our new instrument. Soli Deo Gloria. To God alone be Glory.