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Cover Feature

July 3, 2017

Peragallo Pipe Organ Company, Paterson, New Jersey

Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude, Phoenix, Arizona


From the Builder


Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.

—Daniel Burnham

As organbuilders, we are uniquely privileged to experience many rewarding moments in the process of seeing a new pipe organ come to life. Those moments are all the more amplified when this process includes a vibrant ministry that will realize the full potential of the new instrument. From our first interactions with the staff and organ committee at the Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude, we sensed that the pipe organ was going to serve as the cornerstone of sacred music within the Diocese of Phoenix. The instrument would need to musically support and visually complement a refreshingly unapologetic traditional ministry of sacred music. The organ’s timbres would need to function in both humble and glorifying ways to illuminate to the congregant the power through which chant, hymnody, and improvisation can reveal the sacred mystery to us all.

We were immediately in awe of the unwavering faith of this congregation. The extended lines wrapping around the church of people of all ages waiting to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the sight of people crawling on hands and knees down the middle aisle to beg forgiveness, the perpetual procession of groups gathering to recite the Rosary—all attest to the tremendous faith of this special place. The large cross that adorned the altar of Sun Devil Stadium during the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1987 is now a familiar beacon as you approach the cathedral. With this steadfast faith and this prominent cross as a starting point, we set out to design an organ to complement this parish.

The tonal design of the instrument is the collaborative effort of John Peragallo, III; Mark Husey, consultant for the project; and Matthew Meloche, the director of sacred music at Ss. Simon and Jude. The specification is in keeping with the tonal concepts and philosophies one can expect of a Peragallo instrument. Each division is tonally complete and features a wealth of foundation stops. The gallery casework showcases an unenclosed Grand Orgue, expressive Positif and Récit divisions, and a substantial Pédale. An Antiphonale organ provides pitch and accompaniment for the song leader and serves as a counterpoint to the Grand Orgue. The Solo provides easy keyboard access to the chamades and a plethora of solo color. Each division possesses not only the requisite tools one would expect to see but several noteworthy perks.

At the urging of the consultant, we included a manual 32Flûte Conique. The overall effect of adding this subtle flue to the chorus is most favorable in executing French music from both the Classical and Romantic schools. The Grand Orgue is also equipped with softer accompanimental stops from the expressive divisions to offer a seamless crescendo and versatility in registration.

The Positif Expressif houses the powerful Tromba Magna. This high-pressure reed, fitted with German tapered shallots that are modified with a straight bore, benefits from the extremely effective expression of the Positif chamber. When adding the Tromba to the chorus with the box closed, it can serve as a bigger chorus reed. With the box fully open, the Tromba broadens the Grand Jeu while not overpowering the balance of the ensemble. 

Another notable inclusion is the large-scaled 8 Cor di Bassetto in the Récit division. Sitting alongside the traditional Hautbois and Trompette, this throaty color is available at 16 pitch on the Solo. The Récit also includes a Sept/Neuf (117 and 89) that imparts a reedy shimmer to the full chorus and also serves as part of the collective VIII Cornet à la Neuvieme.

The versatile nature of the organ’s mechanism afforded the ability to create composite stops for the Solo division, such as the III Grande Montre that is drawn from the three largest-scaled Montre stops. Likewise, the II Flûte Majeure, II Flauto Veneziano Celeste, and VII Cor de Violes go one step in depth and volume beyond their divisional counterparts. The Solo provides access to two collective Cornets, as well as the Tromba Magna, at a variety of pitches.

Finally, the Solo offers access to several colorful reeds at pitches other than those found in their respective divisions. For example, the Chalumeau à Cheminée sits well in the Positif chorus at 4 pitch along with the 8 Cromorne and the 16Cor Anglais. The Chalumeau and the Cor Anglais are both available at 8 pitch on the Solo.

The Pédale division holds four independent 32 pitches of varying color and power, and the façade pipework includes both the 16 Violone and 16 Montre. The 16 Bombarde reeds are fitted with special bored German shallots. 

The Trompette en Chamade features English shallots with flared resonators in polished zinc splayed in a spectacular arrangement high in the casework.

The digital makeup of the floating Antiphonal organ ensures that it will always be in tune with the gallery organ when called upon.

The design and fabrication of the organ’s casework was carried out under the direction of Frank Peragallo. The design follows cues of the cathedral’s unique arches reflected in the doubly curving towers. The sightlines and hierarchies seek to elevate the eye upward.

The organ also features chamber wall designs borrowing from concepts developed for structurally insulated panels that are used in green building systems. These walls perform a double function of keeping the chamber temperatures even in the Arizona heat and creating a stark pianissimo effect when the expression shades are closed. New techniques for racking were developed for the double curves within the towers and the Trompette en Chamade.  

The organ’s console design features curving details gleaned from the organ casework and the cathedral’s ecclesiastical appointments. The music desk incorporates a Southwest motif with inlay of three wood species: maple, oak, and cherry.

At the pinnacle of the casework, a hand-carved cherry Étoile Sonora (spinning star zimbelstern) adorns the case and rotates when activated. The star’s design represents the five charisms of Mary Ward, the five Loreto Sisters who founded the school, and the founding pastor, Father Paul Smith. The Loreto Sisters have faithfully served the Diocese of Phoenix since 1954.

After four months of engineering and planning and six months of fabrication, the organ was fully assembled at the factory in Paterson, New Jersey. An open house was held for the community before it was disassembled and loaded onto the truck for the four-day journey to Arizona.

Ten Peragallo employees flew to Phoenix for six weeks of installation of the new organ. Each morning the crew drove from their outpost in northern Phoenix to the cathedral, passing dozens of hot air balloons and witnessing the priceless morning sunrises of the greater Phoenix valley. It took only one week to rebuild the massive organ casework and chambers in the balcony. The console was placed on display on the main floor of the cathedral so parishioners could have a chance to view it before it was raised up to the balcony.

One week later, the initial sounds were heard and the four-week voicing process began. This culminated with the blessing of the organ by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, shepherd of the Diocese of Phoenix, on November 21, 2016.  

This installation in Phoenix is our family’s first instrument west of the Mississippi River since John Peragallo, Sr., took the American Master Organ Company Opus 3 by rail to the Rialto Theatre in Butte, Montana, in 1917. One hundred years and 743 organs later, four members of the Peragallo family and ten craftsmen on our dedicated staff headed out across the country once more. We are proud to extend our tradition and look forward to building more instruments and reaching more parishes across the country in the years to come.

We are grateful for the support of the Most Reverend Thomas James Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix; the Very Reverend John Lankeit, Cathedral Rector; Matthew J. Meloche, director of sacred music; Mark Husey, consultant; Pam Lambros, parish stewardship and communications coordinator; the Cathedral Organ Committee; and all those that supported the cathedral music initiatives and this project.

—John Peragallo, IV 

Architectural Designer


From the Consultant

Environments of congregations that support professional musical excellence in America seem as rare and delicately balanced as ecosystems of planets that can support intelligent life in the known universe. The alchemical blend of visionary leadership, talent pool, and patronage all need to be in alignment for music of a professional standard to be the norm, and typically manifest after many years of careful cultivation. The Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude in Phoenix was built as a parish church in 1965 and elevated to a cathedral in 1969. While an exhaustive history of the cathedral’s sacred music program is mercurial and fascinating, that is not my story to tell; Matthew Meloche’s appointment as director of music in November of 2013 has produced an exceptionally well-trained professional choir that sings unaccompanied chants and polyphony for a weekly Solemn Choral Mass broadcast on television and archived on YouTube. At his initiative and through the support of cathedral clergy and an exceptionally generous donor, Peragallo Opus 743 was built as this cathedral’s first pipe organ, replacing two electronic instruments in various stages of decay.  

While the cathedral’s richly celebrated choral Masses include a wealth of unaccompanied choral music, the liturgy’s psalm, hymns, voluntaries, and improvisations demand an instrument with a diverse tonal palette capable of dramatic dynamic flexibility, attributes that undoubtedly come into play should the instrument find itself exploring the breadth of accompanied choral repertory. The three independent principal choruses (two of them enclosed) on the main organ contrast brilliantly in terraced dynamics when played alone and when coupled form a sumptuous plenum.

The addition of the 32 on the Grand Orgue provides for a most unusual, subtle gravitas that makes for a spectacular Grand Plein Jeu for French Classic repertory. A most colorful battery of reed stops is available, complete with a powerful enclosed Solo Tromba in an “air-tight” swell box, which goes from a comfortable forte when played against a modest combination of stops, to a thrilling stentorian tone that rivals the glory of Peragallo’s signature chamades. The duplexing and unification that form the instrument’s Solo division might elicit an arched eyebrow from some purists (as it did from me, who am anything but). I would extend some of the liberties afforded to Isnard’s 1772 Resonance division at St. Maximin-en-Var in Provence, though I realize this is a stretch. While the Solo division has only one rank to call its own, its Grand Montre, Flauto Venezia, and Cornet stops are laudable composites that yield breathtaking results and must be heard to be fully appreciated. The judicious use of digital voices also should be mentioned: the expanded repertory that can be explored through their use, and the versatility afforded to their voicing and balance, is considerable. In summary, this instrument is what it is and does what it does without apology: brilliantly.

I played Peragallo Opus 643 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina, for ten years, and the success of that instrument in leading sung worship is documented on over 700 videos with nearly four million views as of this writing. I am proud to have introduced the Peragallo family to the good people of Ss. Simon and Jude. I applaud Matthew Meloche, his clergy, and their patrons for blazing new trails in organ building while upholding the best of Catholic musical orthodoxy, providing a broken world with beauty and hope when we need it most. I predict that Peragallo Opus 743 will likewise inspire subsequent renewal in sacred music on a local as well as global scale. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

—Mark Husey


From the Director of Sacred Music

It has been a great pleasure of mine, since 2013, to continue the good work of my predecessor Adam Bartlett in promoting legitimate Catholic sacred music at the Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude, the Mother Church of the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona. Perhaps the most quoted liturgy document of the past 50 years has been Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. In that rather broad document a few specific musical items are mentioned: chant, polyphony, and the pipe organ.

Though the cathedral’s history with Gregorian chant long predates myself and my immediate predecessor (the 11:00 a.m. Solemn Mass has had the authentic Gregorian Introit sung at it for a decade or more), it was under Bartlett and then my watch that polyphony—especially that of Palestrina, Byrd, and even of modern composers—began being promoted and used extensively. The final piece of the puzzle for the cathedral was to move the choir from the north transept where they were relocated several decades back to the choir loft and the installation of a pipe organ.

The pipe organ design put forth by the Peragallo’s and the tonal specifications put together over many months pushed beyond the cathedral’s initial vision.  With time and the advice of great musicians (Mark Husey, Dr. Daniel Page, Ryan Dingess, Bruce Ludwick, among others), a wonderful instrument came forth. The many tonal colors of the organ make it an ideal instrument for creative improvisations on Gregorian chant themes, and many of its ranks seem to be made to accompany congregational settings of the chanted Ordinary of the Mass.

The dedication series of six concerts (played by Dr. Paul Weber, Dr. Skye Hart, Dr. Emma Whitten, Dr. Meaghan King, Mr. Mark Husey, and Mr. Jonathan Ryan) was eye opening to many cathedral parishioners and visitors from around the diocese. The pipe organ is used to accompany congregational music regularly at the Diocese of Phoenix televised Mass, which is viewed by over 60,000 people each Sunday. His Excellency, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, in his homily during the Vespers service at which he blessed the pipe organ, joyfully celebrated this instrument and the inspiration it would bring to parishioners and Catholics from around Arizona. It is my hope that this instrument will begin a resurgence in the Diocese of Phoenix and be the first of many pipe organs to find its way into Catholic parishes here that may have never had one.

—Matthew J. Meloche


See time lapse video of week one of the organ being built at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=579Rc0svbbg.  


Grand Orgue – Manual I 

32 Flûte conique Positif and Pédale 

16 Contre Violone 61 pipes

8 Montre 61 pipes

8 Flûte harmonique 61 pipes

8 Bourdon à cheminée 61 pipes

8 Gambe 61 pipes

8 Cor de nuit (ext Bd Dx 16 Récit 

8 Cor de chamois Positif 

8 Cor de chamois Céleste Positif  

4 Prestant 61 pipes

4 Flûte ouverte 61 pipes

4 Cor de chamois Céleste II Positif

2 Doublette 61 pipes

2 Flûte à bec (ext 4 Fl) 12 pipes 

II Cornet (c2–c6) 98 pipes

III/IV Grande Fourniture composite

IV Fourniture  244 pipes

III Cymbale  183 pipes 

16 Contre Trompette  61 wps

8 Trompette 61 pipes

4 Clairon (ext 8 Tr) 12 pipes 


8 Trompette en Chamade Solo

Positif Expressif – Manual II 

16 Flûte conique 61 wps

8 Montre 61 pipes 

8 Bourdon 61 pipes 

8 Cor de chamois 61 pipes

8 Cor de chamois Céleste (TC) 49 pipes

4 Principal italien (ext 8 Mt) 12 pipes 

4 Flûte à fuseau 61 pipes

2 Octavin 61 pipes

113 Larigot 61 pipes

1 Piccolo (ext 4 Fl) 12 pipes 

II Cymbale 122 pipes 

16 Cor anglais 61 wps  8 Cromorne 61 pipes

4 Chalumeau à cheminée 61 pipes

8 Tromba magna 61 pipes 

4 Clairon magna (ext 8 Tr)


Positif 16

Positif Muet

Positif 4

Harp 49 wps 

Celesta 12 wps 

8 Trompette en Chamade Solo  

Récit – Manual III

16 Bourdon doux 61 wps  

8 Montre 61 pipes

8 Flûte à cheminée 61 pipes

8 Viole de gambe 61 pipes

8 Voix Céleste (TC) 49 pipes

8 Flauto Dolce Céleste II 122 wps  

4 Prestant 61 pipes

4 Flûte traversière 61 pipes

223 Nasard (TC) 30 pipes

2 Doublette 61 pipes

2 Quarte de nasard (ext 4 Fl) 12 pipes

135 Tierce (TC) 30 pipes

III/IV Plein jeu 220 pipes 

IV Cymbale composite 

II Sept/Neuf 122 wps  

16 Basson 61 pipes

8 Trompette 61 pipes

8 Cor di bassetto 61 pipes

8 Hautbois 61 pipes

8 Voix humaine 61 wps

4 Clarion (ext 8 Tr) 12 pipes


Recit 16

Recit Muet

Recit 4

8 Trompette en Chamade Solo

Solo – Manual IV

8 Grande Montre III G.O. composite   

8 Flûte majeure II G.O. composite 

8 Cor de Violes VII Récit composite 

8 Flauto Veneziano Céleste II 

Récit composite 

4 Flûte magique G.O. fr. 8 Fl har

V Grande Cornet G.O. composite  

VIII Cornet à la neuvieme Réc composite 

16 Cor di bassetto Récit

8 Cromorne Positif  

8 Trompette en chamade 49 pipes 

8 Chalumeau à cheminée Positif 

8 Cor anglais Positif 

16 Tuba magna (1–12 wps) Positif 

8 Tromba magna Positif 

4 Clairon magna Positif 


Clochettes 37 wps  

Solo 16

Solo Muet

Solo 4

Antiphonale – Floating 

8 Montre 61 wps

8 Flûte angelique 61 wps

8 Viole angelorum 61 wps

8 Voix seraphique 61 wps

8 Unda maris II 122 wps

4 Prestant 61 wps

4 Flûte bouchée 61 wps

2 Doublette 61 wps

8 Cor d’orchestre 61 wps


Antiphonal Octave Célestes

Antiphonale Pédale 

16 Contrebasse 32 wps

16 Bourdon 32 wps

8 Octavbasse 12 wps

8 Bourdon 12 wps

4 Flûte couverte 32 wps

8 Cor d’orchestre Ant.

4 Cor d’orchestre Ant.

Pédale Tremulant


32 Flûte ouverte 32 wps 

32 Contre bourdon 32 wps 

32 Flûte conique 32 wps 

16 Contrebasse 32 wps 

16 Montre 32 pipes

16 Violone Grand Orgue 

16 Flûte conique Positif 

16 Bourdon 32 wps  

16 Bourdon doux Récit 

8 Octavbasse 32 pipes

8 Bourdon 12 wps

8 Flute doux Récit

4 Doublette (ext 8 Oct) 12 pipes 

4 Flûte octaviante Grand Orgue

IV Fourniture composite

32 Contre Bombarde 32 wps 

16 Bombarde 32 pipes

16 Contre Trompette Grand Orgue 

16 Basson Récit

8 Bombarde (ext 16) 12 pipes 

8 Trompette en chamade Solo 

8 Tromba magna Positif 

4 Cromorne  Positif 

Campanile Cathédrale Solo

Étoile Sonora


wps  = Walker pipe sample 


Four manuals and pedal, 51 ranks

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