Bishop to dedicate the Murdy Family Organ in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Courtney Becker | Friday, January 20, 2017
The Murdy Family Organ will be dedicated by Bishop Daniel Jenky on Friday, the culmination of a 10-year-long project.
Fr. Peter Rocca, rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, said once the Murdy family donated funds to begin construction of the organ it took around 40 months to complete.
“I would say it’s been almost 10 years that we’ve been working on this project,” Rocca said. “And then it was in 2012 that we finally sealed the deal with the donation by the Murdy family to begin the construction of the organ.”
The goal for a new organ in the Basilica came about due to certain restraints created by the previous organ, Rocca said.
“They’re not frequently replaced,” he said. “We had difficulties with the previous organ. The previous organ had acoustical limitations and high maintenance costs. … I think this is perhaps — we’ve had a number of organs in the Basilica and I think this might be the fifth or sixth organ.”
Rocca said the Murdy Family Organ is better suited to the Basilica than the previous organ due to the high quality of the new organ.
“This organ is probably one of the best you’ll find in the United States — if not, in the world,” Rocca said. “It has a great versatility. It will enable organists to play a whole repertoire of literature that the previous organ would not necessarily permit because it is quite a bit larger than the previous organ. So there is more variety in terms of the stops and the sounds.”
The increased size of the organ will also enhance Mass and other celebrations in the Basilica, Rocca said.
“It will be able to support the Basilica when it’s full,” he said. “All will be able to sing more effectively being able to be supported by the pipe organ.”
Rocca said he hopes the improved organ also draws in more students who intend to study sacred music at the University.
“It will also be an organ that will be very attractive to students who wish to learn how to play the organ and to become proficient in organ playing,” he said. “We have a master of sacred music program and a doctoral program, both with organ majors. So this will be a very attractive instrument for them to practice on and to perform on.”
In addition to attracting organ students, Rocca said, the Murdy Family Organ offers greater opportunities for visiting organists to play recitals at Notre Dame.
“We hope to bring in concert performers from around the world who will be very anxious and happy to play and perform on this organ,” he said. “So it’s — both liturgically and professionally — this organ will be attractive for a whole host of reasons.”
Rocca said Jenky being the one to bless the organ will be a highlight of the dedication and recital.
“We have bishops here all the time to celebrate Mass,” he said. “But for a bishop to come to bless an organ? That’s, I would say, pretty rare.”
Above everything else, Rocca said, this new addition to Notre Dame’s campus would not be possible without the generosity of the Murdy family.
“We’re eternally grateful and indebted to the Murdy family for this very generous benefaction of this organ,” he said.
The dedication will take place at 8:15 p.m. in the Basilica, followed immediately by the dedication recital. Organ professor and University organist Craig Cramer will perform the recital.