Church of Our Lady of Refuge - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Joe Vitacco)
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The Church of Our Lady of Refuge
(Roman Catholic)

2020 Foster Avenue at Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11210
http://www.olrbrooklyn.org

Organ Specifications:
Present building (since 1934)
III/25 Geo. Kilgen & Son, Op. 5163 (1933)
First building (1913-1934)
• unknown
           
The Roman Catholic parish of Our Lady of Refuge was established by Bishop Charles Edward McDonnell on December 8, 1911. Father Robert O'Donovan was chosen by the Bishop to be the first Pastor. Land was restricted even to the building of a church, but finally Father O'Donovan was able to obtain the ground which the parish now owns, on the corner of Ocean and Foster Avenues in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

Original 1912 Church of Our Lady of Refuge - Brooklyn (Brooklyn Daily Eagle Postcard)  
Original 1912 church building
 
On May 12, 1912, Father O'Donovan broke ground for a new church, and the first mass was held in the rectory on the following Sunday. The cornerstone of the first church building was laid on June 23rd and two weeks later the first mass was celebrated in the new church. By September the building was completed, and in April 1913 it was dedicated by Bishop McDonnell. The new parish was in debt to the amount of $90,000, but in eight years' time half of this had been paid.

  Church of Our Lady of Refuge - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Joe Vitacco)
In 1928, when it was apparent that the old church could no longer comfortably accomodate the congregation, Father O'Donovan started a campaign to raise funds for a new building. Preliminary drawings were made but Father O'Donovan died before his dream was fulfilled. Under the leadership of Monsignor Francis P. Connelly, his successor, final plans were drawn and accepted, and enough money raised to pay for the new church and rectory. Ground was broken on March 24, 1933, and the cornerstone was laid on June 4, 1933. Designed by Henry V. Murphy of Brooklyn, the neo-Gothic building is faced in stone with limestone trim and includes a massive square tower and flèche. The church's striking interior includes Art Moderne design elements. On June 17, 1934, the new church was dedicated by the Most Reverend Thomas E. Molloy, Bishop of Brooklyn. Although the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, the fully equipped church and rectory were opened free from debt.
         
  Console of Kilgen & Son Organ, Op. 5163 (1933) in the Church of Our Lady of Refuge - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Joe Vitacco)
  Restored and upgraded console (2013)
  Chamber of Kilgen & Son Organ, Op. 5163 (1933) in the Church of Our Lady of Refuge - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Joe Vitacco)
  Great & Choir chamber
  Chamber of Kilgen & Son Organ, Op. 5163 (1933) in the Church of Our Lady of Refuge - Brooklyn, N.Y. (photo: Joe Vitacco)
  Swell chamber
Geo. Kilgen & Son
St. Louis, Mo. – Opus 5163 (1933)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 53 stops, 25 ranks



As plans were being made for the present church building, the organbuilding firm of Geo. Kilgen & Son of St. Louis, Missouri, was selected to build the organ. Charles Courboin, then organist at St. Patrick's Cathdral, was responsible for the organ's design. Instead of a traditional rear gallery location, the organ's chambers are located in the adjacent tower and speak through stone grills into the left side of the nave. A small gallery contains the organ console.

In 1997, after being silent for many years, the organ's restoration was undertaken by Joseph Vitacco of JAV Recordings, who had grown up in the parish. As funds became available the organ was refurbished in stages by James L. Konzelman Organs of Maplewood, N.J. When it was discovered that the 75-year-old tower had significant structural issues and needed to be waterproofed, the entire organ was removed to facilitate repairs. The organ's windchests, reed pipes, and most of the wood pipes were transported to A.R. Schopp's Sons, Inc., in Alliance, Ohio, for repair and restoration. David Schopp thoroughly checked and performed corrective revoicing as necessary on all of the reed ranks. The remainder of the instrument—which included structure, windlines, console and the remaining pipes—had cleaning, repair, and restoration performed by Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., in Warrensburg, Missouri. Upon return of the instrument to Brooklyn, the reinstallation began in July 2013, under the leadership of Eric Johnson, Head Voicer of Quimby. Sound-absorbing tiles in the tower chambers were replaced with sound-reflecting cement board under the direction of Clayton Acoustics Group, Carmel, N.Y. The organ was rededicated by Olivier Latry, titular organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, on October 18, 2013.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
16
Spitzflute
CH
4
+
Geigen Principal [Vln. Diap.]
CH
8
Diapason
73
4
Spitzflute
CH
8
Second Diapason [Vln. Diap.]
CH
2 2/3
Twelfth
61
8
Harmonic Flute
73
2
Octave
61
8
+
Stopped Flute [fr. Lieb. Ged.]
SW
+
Blank [8' Tuba]
preparation
8
+
Spitzflute
CH
8
Tromba
73
8
Dulciana
CH
Tremulant  
4
Octave
73
Chimes [not connected]
25 tubes
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
Lieblich Gedeckt
97
2
Flautino [fr. Lieb. Ged.]
8
Open Diapason
73
Mixture III ranks
183
8
Stopped Flute [fr. Lieb. Ged.]
16
Posaune
85
8
Salicional
73
8
Cornopean [fr. Posaune]
8
Voix Celeste
73
8
Oboe
73
4
Octave
73
8
Vox Humana
73
4
Flute d'Amour [fr. Lieb. Ged.]
4
+
Clarion [fr. Posaune]
2 2/3
+
Nazard [fr. Lieb. Ged.]
Tremulant
       
 
     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed with Great
8
Violin Diapason
73
2 2/3
Rohr Nazard
73
8
Spitzflute
97
2
Piccolo [fr. Spitzflute]
8
Dulciana
73
+
Blank [GT 8' Tuba]
preparation
8
Unda Maris
73
8
Clarinet
73
4
+
Geigen Octave [fr. Vln. Diap.]
2 2/3
Ripeno [IV ranks, derived] ^
4
Flute [fr. Spitzflute]
Tremulant
 
^ Composition: Rohr Nazard 2-2/3'–1-1/3', Spitzflute 2'–1'
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
Resultant †
32
+
Ripieno [IX ranks, derived]
16
Contra Bass (wood)
68
16
Trombone [ext. GT Tromba]
12
16
Bourdon
44
16
+
Posaune
SW
16
Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
8
+
Trumpet [fr. Posaune]
SW
16
Spitzflute
CH
4
+
Clarion [fr. Posaune]
SW
8
Octave [fr. Contra Bass]
 
8
Flute [fr. Bourdon]
Composition: Contra Bass 16' & Bourdon 10-2/3'
8
Spitzflute
CH
Composition: Bourdon 16–8', Violin Diapason 8–4',
Lieb. Ged. 10-2/3' & 5-1/3', Spitzflute 6-2/5', 4-4/7' & 3-1/5'
4
  Super Octave [fr. Contra Bass]
2
  Doublette [fr. Contra Bass]
 
       
+ stops added by Quimby Pipe Organs
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Great 16', Unison Off, 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell 16', Unison Off, 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir 16', Unison Off, 4'
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'    
             
Adjustable Combinations [ICS-4000 by Peterson]
   
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb) Ped. to Man. On/Off *
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb) Ped. to Man. On/Off *
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb) Ped. to Man. On/Off *
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb & toe)  
General Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)  
  Pistons 7-8-9-10-11-12 (toe) [orig. 1-6]  
General Cancel Piston  
Set
Button on ICS-4000 Panel
* On and Off buttons in right key cheeks
             
Reversibles
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Sforzando (thumb & toe)
    Swell to Pedal (thumb & toe)   16' Manual Stops (tab, thumb & toe)
    Choir to Pedal (thumb & toe)   [Something to right of CH (tab)
             
Expression
    Balanced Great & Choir Pedal    
    Balanced Swell Pedal    
    Crescendo Pedal    
 
           
Sources:
     "History of the Parish." Brooklyn: Church of Our Lady of Refuge. Courtesy Joseph Vitacco.
     Our Lady of Refuge web site: http://www.olrbrooklyn.org
     Quimby Pipe Organs web site: http://www.quimbypipeorgans.com/
     Vitacco, Joseph. Stoplist of Geo. Kilgen & Son Organ, Op. 5163 (1933).

Illustrations:
     Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection). Postcard.
     Vitacco, Joseph. Color photos of present church building and Kilgen organ.