Student refurbishes organ at Albia parish


By Celine Klosterman

Ben Hoskins, a music student at the University of Northern Iowa, works on refurbishing the organ at his home parish of St. Mary’s in Albia earlier this month.

ALBIA — The keys and pedals remain, but otherwise, the church organ Ben Hoskins played in elementary school is a new instrument.
A senior majoring in organ performance at the Uni­ver­sity of Nor­thern Iowa, Hoskins refurbished the 1971 analog organ at his home parish of St. Mary’s three weeks ago. He gutted the instrument and then wired it to a computer with software that reproduces a pipe organ’s sound, which he hopes enhances celebrations of the Mass.
“It’s a night and day difference,” said Dan Walker, a vocalist and cellist for St. Mary’s. “The organ has now so far surpassed anything people are going to hear, short of being at a major cathedral, because it has such fidelity, range and depth of sound.”
Until recently, parish organists could no longer use many of the stops or transpose songs on the deteriorating instrument, Walker said. “Now, it’s able to do what it’s supposed to do. I’ve been to churches in Winchester, Salisbury and Canterbury and, hearing this, it’s like I’m back there.”

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