Byculla church hopes to restore damaged 100-yr-old pipe organ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Byculla church hopes to restore damaged 100-yr-old pipe organ

mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2012 01:30 IST
Reetika Subramanian

Hidden under dust and cobwebs in the loft at Byculla’s Gloria Church, is a century-old German pipe organ that was once the pride of the church. Today, some of the pipes of the wind instrument are missing, keyboard strings are broken, and the edges of the pedal board are infested with termites.

“It is not in a working condition. There is hope to restore it because the carved ivory designs and music notes rest as they were a few decades ago,” said Margaret Fernandes, a resident of Byculla, who was part of the church choir in the 1960s.

The instrument was originally a Bishop’s organ that was shipped to the city from Germany, when the Church was instituted in 1913. The church will begin its centenary year celebrations in November.

“The pipe organ’s sound echoed in every corner of the church when the choir sang to its tunes during mass,” recalled Charmis Braganza, who played the instrument for five years in the early 60s.

The Church’s pipe organ had two manuals (keyboards) that were played by hand, and a pedal board played by the feet. “During a trip to Shimla a few years ago, I learned that a damaged pipe organ in a local church had been repaired. This gave me hope that the organ in Gloria Church could be revived,” Braganza added.

“The missing pipes will have to be imported from Germany,” said Fernandes.

The parishioners have estimated a budget of up to Rs1 crore to revive the instrument. “Six months ago, musicians from Belgium came to inspect the instrument. However, they did not revert to us,” said Father Rocky Banz, the parish priest of Gloria Church.

To make donations to revive the pipe organ, log on to or contact 022-23726630.