A Heavenly Sound at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brooklyn as Nearly Million Dollar Organ Is Restored

Tags: Currents Crux, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Music, Organ, Organ restoration, Peragallo Pipe Organ Company

By Emily Drooby

Angie Hemulgada has spent over 40 years sitting in the pews of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church listening to the church’s organ.

“The organ is a big difference for the community, the sound is totally different,” she told Currents News.

The organ was repaired for the first time since 1968.

“It feels great compared to playing the old one, because it was very worn out and very out of tune,” said organ player Connor Whelan, the church’s music director.

“Music is essential to a good liturgy and the organ plays a huge part in having good music, music that people feel,” explained Deacon John Cantirino, “music that people experience, music that resonates with people’s souls.”

Their Pastor, Father Ilyas Gill, made the restoration a priority.

The restoration was done by Peragallo Pipe Organ Company, a company that operates out of New Jersey. It was quite an undertaking, but important for the parish.

Two of the three organ bellows, which generate the wind, were not working.

1,400 pipes had to be reshaped, replaced or cleaned up. Pieces were removed one by one, and taken up and down a steep ladder through a tiny opening in the ceiling.

They also repaired the room the organ was in, and added new electronics. It took a year and $350,000 dollars. The money came from several places, including collections and parishioners.

“People are very generous, since I am here I have never seen them put the church down,” said Father Gill. “They always support the church.”

The community is coming together and being there for their church, just like the church and clergy are always there for them.

Parishioners went almost a full year without the organ while it was being repaired, but now heavenly music will be heard again.