- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) - Thousands of metal cylinders in wooden boxes lined the second floor of the iconic Catholic church on Veneta Avenue last week.

Father Derek Lappe picked up one and blew into one end, producing a soft, high note that echoed throughout the church’s ornate insides.

In the next few weeks, those cylinders — 3,600 in all — will be connected to produce the grand sound of a pipe organ.

Lappe calls the addition of the organ, which the church raised $350,000 to pay for, the final piece in an overhaul at Our Lady Star of the Sea that began in 2007.

“This is the completion of what we started then,” Lappe said.

The 5,000-member congregation’s former electronic organ proved problematic any time its parts would wear out. The organ industry has been shrinking, making them hard to find. And aside from the beautiful sounds a pipe organ produces, most of its costs are upfront, he said.

“You never ever replace it,” he said.

Surprisingly, the organ itself — absent the pipes and installation, which includes a steel beam to support its weight — is relatively cheap. The church found one at Western Washington University in Bellingham built in 1951 by the M.P. Moller Pipe Organ Co.

Its cost: $15,000.

The organ should be completed and ready to play by the end of summer, Lappe said.

The church’s last $2 million renovation was completed in 2008. Heat, sound and lighting systems were modernized and the building refurbished to match its overall style, dating back to when it was built in the 1950s.

The church was established in Bremerton in 1902 at the home of John Gibboney before it moved into a one-room schoolhouse on Fourth Street. It moved to its current home in 1920.


Information from: Kitsap Sun, https://www.kitsapsun.com/

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