Our Lady of Refuge Church in Flatbush, Brooklyn is “pulling out all the stops” to restore its historic pipe organ.
The organ’s demise and resurrection mirrors demographic changes in the parish since the church was built in what was then a well-to-do Brooklyn neighborhood. Father Michael Perry says that the church’s construction costs, totalling $750,000 (about $13 million in today’s dollars) were paid for in cash. That was in 1933, in the midst of the Depression.
“If you look at the houses around here, even the apartment houses, they’re high ceilings, big apartments, I mean it was a pretty wealthy neighborhood,” he said.
The church is holding an organ recital on November 18 in a bid to raise the last $60,000 needed to finish refurbishment and reinstallation of the 1933 Kilgen Pipe organ.
In this slideshow, Father Perry talks about why he and Joe Vitacco, chair of the organ committee, have embarked on a project to bring organ music to the church’s mostly Caribbean and West Indian congregation.