Music Instructor Dr. Brett Abigana Builds BUA its Own Organ

Over the past many months, BUA Music Instructor Dr. Brett Abigaña has been toiling away in his basement, building BUA its very own organ — a thing of beauty and a true labor of love. In a note to the BUA community on April 29, Dr. Abigaña wrote:

“We have a lot of very cool stuff here at BUA. But if there was one instrument we’ve never had but could really use, it was an organ. In the past, we would have spring concerts at Marsh Chapel, and we were lucky enough to use their beautiful Casavant organ. But we have since outgrown that space, and have found ourselves limited by not having access to a large organ we could call our own. So when the pandemic shut the music room doors, I decided I’d use the time to our advantage, and two years later, BUA is the proud owner of our very own French-style symphonic organ!

The instrument uses Hauptwerk software, a virtual pipe organ that allows users to download amazingly high-quality sample sets from hundreds of famous organs around the world. These samples take the concept of detail to another level, allowing users to hear not only the notes and timbres of the organs (some of which have up to 30,000 pipes!), but also the acoustics of the church, the sound of the wind chest, the sound of moving pedals, pulled stops, and even of dust being blown out from a 32-foot pipe!

Our instrument currently has two manuals (and can be expanded later), a full-sized pedal board, and five different organ samples sets from organs ranging from a small Medieval Organ Positiv to the gigantic 44-stop Friesach Organ, currently housed in a 12th-century Austrian church. The console was designed and built in my basement, and is made of American cherry wood.

We will christen BUA’s organ with Mahler’s Symphony no. 2 “The Resurrection,” at the Spring Concert next Friday.”

From our entire community, thank you, Dr. A., for your tireless devotion to BUA’s music program, to improving the experience of our students, and for constantly working to make our school a better place. We are so incredibly lucky to have you!

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