The Sound of a Memory

James Barron | Sept. 9, 2013 | The New York Times

First Recording of Completed Pipe Organ Restoration in Brooklyn: Renée Louprette plays César Franck’s Pièce Héroïque from Joe Vitacco on Vimeo.

Rev Michael A Perry and Joe Vitacco at Our Lady of Refuge in BrooklynLeft, the Rev. Michael A. Perry, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge, sits at the organ with Joseph A. Vitacco III. Photo by Bryan Thomas for The New York Times.

Joseph A. Vitacco III remembers what captivated him when he was a child and his grandmother took him to Mass: not the sight of the priests in their robes, not the stained glass windows soaring beyond the arches, but the sound of the pipe organ. “It was rich, powerful and ethereal, all at the same time,” he recalled the other day. “Sort of like an orchestra.”

That sound, heard in the early 1970s, and that instrument, at Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church in Midwood, Brooklyn, shaped his life. He took organ lessons and, when he was in high school, he learned to make repairs, replacing the dried-out leather lining deep inside in the organ’s wind chest. He wrote about that in his application to the University of Notre Dame and got in, despite warnings from his guidance counselor that his chances were slim. 

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 by Daily Domer Staff

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