BANGOR – St. John’s Catholic Church is more than 160 years old. The church holds a giant piece of history that many can hear echoing through the facility.
“Opus 288 has a unique voice and we’re just very proud to share it,” said Kevin Birch, director of music for St. John’s Catholic Church.
The church has ornate stained glass windows and very high ceilings, which help to resonate the sounds of Opus 288.
“It’s referred to as 288 and that’s because it was the 288th instrument that came from the workshop of the Hook Brothers,” Birch said.
The church has been around for quite some time.
“Construction was started in 1854 and completed in 1856,” said Birch.
Only a few years later, an organ came from Boston. It was made specifically for the church.
“It was scaled and proportioned so it that it would sit gracefully in this choir loft,” said Birch
Built by the Hook Brothers, the organ has more than 18,000 individual pipes.
“The largest pipes are 16 feet [and] made out of wood. The smallest pipes are smaller than a little pencil,” Birch said.
During a time without modern transportation, it took quite a journey to get to the city.
“It came up on a ship from Boston, a steamship, and it offloaded at Winterport. And it continued on a horse-drawn cart from Winterport to Bangor,” said Birch.
More than a century and a half later, its music fills the church. Not only during services but also during the St. John’s Organ Society’s Summer Concert Series.
“We established the St. John’s Organ Society to share the organ with a wider community,” Birch said.
The concert series is in its 26th year. It runs at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday night in July and August.