St. Michael Catholic Church - Wheaton
On March 18, 2002, the Sanctuary of St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton, Illinois was destroyed by a fire. The destruction resulted in a total loss of their worship space and their pipe organ.
Father Don McLaughlin has said that it was not difficult to pick the Architect and the Organ Builder, as both “artists” had a wonderful concept in mind for their new worship space from the very beginning. The Parish realized that they didn’t need to “BE the experts, they just had to CHOOSE the experts.” It was obvious to them that both Ruck-Pate Architects and Triune Music were up for the challenge.
In March of 2006 (nearly 4 years to the date of the fire), the new building was dedicated with the sounds of the digital portion of their new Rodgers Organ. By Fall of 2006 the first 37 ranks of pipes were installed and voiced in time for the organ’s dedication.
The imposing Great Organ Case was designed by Triune President, Steven Smith, and was built in Triune's own wood shop. You will note that there are THREE large arches (for the Holy Trinity) and SEVEN total arches (for the Biblical number of completion). The three large arches contain the THIRTY-THREE pipes of the pedal principal (for the years of Christ’s life). At the front of the worship space (near the console) is an additional pipe division to accompany cantors & choirs. There is also a “digital” swell division located here to provide the full resources of a two-manual organ at the front of the worship space.
In 2010, under the direction of new Music Director, Christopher Orf (a former pipe voicer), several additional ranks of pipes were installed through the generosity of a single member (who also donated the funds for the entire organ). Chris is currently the Dean of the Fox Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. After hearing the organ for the first time, a former Sub-Dean commented that any jokes about “toasters” are no longer valid. Other AGO members continue to guess as to which ranks are windblown and which are not.
Given the wonderful acoustics of this worship space, St. Michael is frequently chosen for a number of musical events. John Rutter has conducted the St Charles Singers here in concert and several notable organists have performed on the organ including Jonathan Hope, Hector Olivera, and Charles Callahan.