Dedicatory Notes For Opus 23
of Jerusalem Parish was established by the late James Francis
Cardinal McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, in 1949. At that time,
the Holy Land was experiencing unrest and St. Cyril of Jerusalem, an
early church father and bishop of the holy city, was chosen as the
patron of the new parish. For a time the congregation worshipped at
the former Nazareth House Home for Boys in nearby Sherman Oaks, CA.
In December 1950 the parish moved to Encino, CA and worshipped in
what is now the current Parish Hall until December 1966. The present
church edifice was erected under the leadership of the first Pastor,
Fr. Michael Lalor. With its brick and concrete construction, the
room possesses among the finest acoustical environments in the
Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The first pipe organ, reputed to be a gift of Liberace, was the work
of Sullivan and Sons, a Los Angeles firm. Installed in the gallery
of the new church and constructed of a variety of used and rebuilt
pipes and parts, its modest voices were generously enhanced by the
acoustical environment. Failing mechanically, this instrument was in
need of replacement after two decades of service.
In 1988, as a result of a generous gift from Marguerite and Robert
Crane, an organ fund was established in conjunction with a capital
fund campaign under the leadership of Msgr. Cyril Navin. In 1990, a
contract was signed with Rosales Organ Builders, Inc., for the
firm’s Opus 23. The builders proposed a design complementing the
large stained glass window depicting St. Cyril, and the rear gallery
was readied for installation of the instrument. Delays resulting
from other instruments being built by Rosales Organ Builders set
back the construction of Opus 23.
The 1994 Northridge earthquake brought another obstacle for the
organ’s completion. Severely damaged, the church building was closed
for 15 months, during which services were held in the parking lot
and eventually in the Parish Hall. During this time, an analysis of
the building revealed deficiencies in the rear gallery structural
design. Had the organ already been installed, most likely the
gallery would have collapsed. Consequently, the new location for the
organ at the liturgical east end resulted in a re-design of the
sanctuary and choir area. The renewed and remodeled church reopened
for the Easter Vigil in 1995.
With the organ completely redesigned, construction recommenced in
late 1995 with installation beginning in the church in January 1996.
Featuring its own new foundation and structural support system, the
organ components are supported and reinforced in anticipation of the
The casework is constructed of white and red oak solids and veneers,
and was built mostly on-site by Bruno Lagarcé of the Rosales firm.
The casework also includes wood from pews removed during the course
of the 1994-1995 remodeling. The façade display is made up from the
Pedal 16’ Principal, 8’ Octave and 4’ Super Octave. Constructed of
copper, these pipes are gilded in a warm brass hue. Behind these
pipes are the large expression boxes containing most of the manual
pipework. The 20-rank Great is on the left, with the 18-rank Swell
on the right. Conceived as tonal equals, these two manual divisions
possess comprehensive tonal resources, a wide dynamic range and a
variety of color possibilities. The remaining Pedal pipes are
mounted on the back walls and roofs of the expression boxes.
The tonal design of Opus 23 was the collaboration of Organist and
Director of Music William Beck and Manuel Rosales. Instead of
spreading the resources over three or even four manuals, the unusual
design of Opus 23, with two primary manual divisions, allowed for a
variety of foundation stops, color registers and dynamic ranges. The
organ’s primary purpose, to provide support for liturgical music and
choral accompaniment, is admirably fulfilled by the array of stops
at the organist’s command. The ability to play organ literature is
not lost, however, as the core of the stoplist is centered on two
traditional Principal choruses.
The inclusion of the Solo manual, not only the home to the chamade
trumpets but a “coupling division” lends the flexibility of a far
larger instrument. Portions of the Great and Swell can be separately
coupled to the Solo, making them playable independently as well as
in contrast to those of their home keyboard. Also, the transferred
stops can be changed in pitch (up or down an octave) and coupled
back to their original manual. These few additional transfer
controls provide the organist with a vast increase in the number of
The organ’s console is patterned after those in 19th century French
choir organs. With a low profile and a compact design, it offers the
organist an unhindered view of the choir. Inside the traditionally
crafted quarter-sawn oak and black walnut case, however, is the
latest in digital control technology. An abundance of programmable
features afford the organist numerous conveniences for stop changes,
multiple memory levels, digital performance recording and MIDI
interface. Free of the usual bundle of hundreds of electrical wires,
a single coaxial cable allows freedom of movement for the console.
The crowning features of the tonal design are the two chamade
trumpets and the full-length 32’ Trombone. Mounted horizontally on
the top of each expression box, the trumpets project effortlessly to
enrich the full organ. These trumpets can be played in dialogue with
each other or with the other divisions of the organ. Underpinning
the entire ensemble of stops are the pipes of the 32’ Contra
Trombone. Over 30’ long and 15” in diameter, these pipes add gravity
and depth to the overall ensemble.
The organ was dedicated on May 31, 1998, Pentecost Sunday. The organ
builders wish to thank St. Cyril’s Parish for the opportunity to
build this instrument and for their patience in its construction and
installation. Thanks too for the creativity and craftsmanship of all
involved in this project. Without the dreams, vision, and patient
encouragement of both the Pastor Emeritus Monsignor Navin and Pastor
Monsignor Bell, this project would never have been completed.
It is with joy and celebration that Opus 23 is presented to the
congregation of St. Cyril’s. May this instrument inspire and uplift
all who worship in this edifice for years to come.
~by: Rosales Organ Builders, Inc. Opus
23 ~Dedicated: May 31, 1998