Organ Information

Organ Information

History of the St. Norbert Abbey Casavant Organ

St. Norbert Abbey’s Casavant organ is used every day of the year for the daily liturgies of the Norbertine community: Eucharist, Lauds, and Vespers. Creation began in the summer of 1957 when John Wright Harvey, professor of organ at UW-Madison, was asked about the design of an organ for the new St. Norbert Abbey church. Harvey worked up a stop list and suggested that the abbey contract with the Canadian firm Casavant Brothers to build the instrument. The contract was signed in 1958, and the instrument was delivered in spring 1959.

Lawrence Phelps was the tonal designer for the organ—his first instrument with Casavant company. The organ was installed by Otto Eberly of Milwaukee. The dedicatory recital was held on June 17, 1959, during an extensive celebration events of the dedication of the entire abbey building. The organist for the occasion was famed Belgian organist Staf Nees, whose program included works by Bach, Boellmann, Franck, Vierne, and Widor.

Several additions have since been made to the original organ, including a group of new stops: Vox Humana, Cymbale III, Soubasse 32’, Bombard 32’, Trumpette en chamade above the west door, and a Zimbelstern. The console of the instrument has been completely overhauled with the addition of new stop knobs and an eight-level solid state memory bank. In fact, the entire instrument is now controlled digitally. These additions were fabricated by the Schlicker organ company of Buffalo, New York (with the blessing of the Casavant company) and installed by Stanton Peters and Henry Weiland of Peters Weiland Company in Milwaukee. Peters has been curator of the organ for the past 40 years.

Read More

  • 3000 Pipes (page 8)
    The Story of St. Norbert Abbey’s Casavant Organ: An Interview with Fr. Batholomew Agar, O. Praem.
    By Gina Sanders Larsen
    Fall/Winter 2015
    Abbey Magazine

Organ Specifications

Casavant Brothers, opus 2529 (1959)
3 manuals
4 divisions
39 ranks
manual compass is 61 notes
pedal compass is 32 notes
electro-pneumatic (EP) pitman chests
16′ Quintaton
8′ Diapason
8′ Bourdon
8′ Gemshorn
4′ Octave
2-2/3′ Octave Quint
2′ Super Octave
Fourniture IV
Cymbale III
8′ Trompette
Unison Off
Swell (under expression):
8′ Principal
8′ Rohrflöte
8′ Salicional
8′ Voix Celeste (GG)
4′ Octave
4′ Flauto Traverso
Plein Jeu III
16′ Contra Fagotta
8′ Hautbois
8′ Voix Humaine (GG)
8′ Trompette
4′ Rohrschalmei
Unison Off
Choir (under expression):
8′ Cor de nuit
8′ Spitzflöte
8′ Spitzflöte Celeste (GG)
4′ Prestant
4′ Koppelflöte
2-2/3′ Nazard
2′ Blockflöte
1-3/5′ Tierce
8′ Krummhorn
8′ Trompette Harmonique
8′ Trompette Prémontré enchamade
Unison Off
32′ Soubasse
16′ Contrebasse
16′ Bourdon
16′ Quintaton (Great)
8′ Principal
8′ Bass Flute
8′ Quintaton (Great)
4′ Choral Bass
Mixture III
32′ Bombarde
16′ Bombarde
16′ Fagotto (Swell)
8′ Bombarde
4′ Clarion
Zimbelstern (toe stud)
Sw/Gr/Ch to ped 8′ and 4′
Sw to Gr 16′, 8′, and 4′
Ch to Gr 16′, 8′, and 4′
Sw to Ch 16′, 8′, and 4′

Sounds of the St. Norbert Abbey Organ

(headphones recommended)

Sounds of the St. Norbert Abbey Organ: Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo

An introduction to the St. Norbert Abbey Casavant organ with Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem., St. Norbert Abbey’s Organist Emeritus.

Sounds of the St. Norbert Abbey Organ: Devin Atteln

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo

Devin Atteln, St. Norbert Abbey Organist, playing “Toccata from Symphony No. 5” by Charles-Marie Widor.

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