New Allen in St. Peter’s Basilica Rome
In November, 2017, Allen Organ Company announced that Allen had been chosen to be the exclusive organ of the Sistine Chapel Choir for papal celebrations in St. Peter’s Square. In December, soon after the new 3-manual Genisys organ arrived at the Vatican, Allen learned that the Vatican also wanted the organ to be used for musical requirements at St. Peter’s Basilica itself.
Here is an excerpt from Allen president Steve Markowitz’ letter to Allen dealers regarding the installation:
“Upon arrival we were met at a gate to the Vatican and taken directly to the Basilica. We were pleasantly surprised to find the organ crates near where the Basilica’s Choir is located. After uncrating the organ we spent hours setting it up. Late in the morning Monsignor Massimo Palombella, Maestro of the Sistine Chapel Choir and responsible for the Basilica’s overall music, came to preview the organ. His positive response led to a remarkable turn of events. We were info1med that on the following day the organ would be tested in the Basilica for broader usage. It was fortuitous that the organ’s audio system included external speaker cabinets and Audio Outs with the ability to connect the instrument to the Basilica’s sound system, something we prepared for as we initially understood the organ was to be used in St. Peter’s Square. But, this hi-bred audio approach was yet to be tested in the Basilica; a bit scary! Thursday morning we started preparing the organ for the test. The instrument’s speaker cabinets were moved on their custom dollies behind the Choir in a way that would allow the organ’s sound to reflect up into the Basilica. We then connected the Audio Outs to the Basilica’s PA system and waited for 3:00. During this time period Juan Paradell-Sole, organist of the Pope, came for his introduction to the organ. His response was positive. We spent part of the two-hour Basilica lunch period, 12:00 to 2:00 PM, working with Juan Paradell-Sole and were nearly alone in St. Peter’s. This was a remarkable and once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The organ has since been used for several Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica, including the Christmas Eve Mass, which was televised world-wide.
Here are links to several of the Masses where the Allen Organ was used exclusively: