For centuries, the pipe organ has been the primary instrument utilized in Christian worship. So it is not surprising that when designs were developed for the new structure of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, a major pipe organ was incorporated into the facility. The M.P. Moller firm from nearby Hagerstown, MD was selected to provide this new instrument.
In an edifice of this scale, it was clear that a single organ location would not fulfill the musical needs the instrument would be called to serve. While the gallery was chosen as the logical location for the larger portion of the instrument, it was clear that a Sanctuary Organ would also be an important part of the Cathedral organ’s disposition. The exposed portions of the gallery organ give only a visual hint of this magnificent instrument. The Cathedral organ is in fact installed in four separate locations – strategically placed to support the varied musical roles it must fulfill for its resident parish congregation and the seat of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
As the instrument and the Cathedral approached their 50th anniversary, it became clear the organ needed to be evaluated. Mechanical problems began to hinder musical performance, and the growing and active music ministry would benefit from improvements to the tonal capabilities of the instrument. After several years of discussions, Schantz Organ Company was contracted to perform this overhaul and update. The project was conducted in stages beginning in January of 2006 so that a portion of the organ would always be playable. The entire organ was completed in April 2007 and made its recital debut at the Region III Convention of the American Guild of Organists on July 5, 2007.
While the stoplist of the organ remains essentially unchanged from the 1959 design, significant musical improvements were made to the instrument. 64 ranks of pipes are new; 66 ranks, existing. All principal choruses, the backbone of the instrument, are all new. Several additional ranks were added to the organ to enhance its musical capabilities.
Today the Gallery Organ contains 75 stops totaling 104 ranks and the Sanctuary organ has 21 stops totaling 26 ranks. The complete stoplist as it is laid out on the duplicate consoles is available here.