About Us

The Erben Organ is a living artistic and technological masterpiece. It represents the finest extant work of New York City’s legendary organbuilder Henry Erben (1800-1884).

The Friends of the Erben Organ (“FREO”) is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the restoration, preservation, and appreciation of the 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ and the 1859 Hall & Labagh pipe organ located in the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral, located in the NoLIta section of SoHo in Manhattan.

The Erben organ is a living artistic and technological masterpiece. It represents the finest extant work of New York City organbuilder Henry Erben (1800-1884). Erben was the leading American pipe organ builder in the mid-19th century, and was never surpassed in quality and craftsmanship.

The organization fosters the appreciation of this living instrument, built largely by and for immigrants, through educational programs and music camps, live musical performances, and organ demonstrations and concerts to visiting tour groups, arts and cultural organizations, schools, and universities.

The Erben organ is complemented by the 1859 Hall & Labagh chancel organ, installed in the Basilica in 2016. Henry Erben was Thomas Hall’s apprentice, business partner, and brother-in-law; Hall set up his own organbuilding enterprise in 1845. It is a rare, intact example of Thomas Hall’s work, and these two organs give us a marvelous sense of what and how people heard in that golden age of New York organ building.

Please visit our News and Events and like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on the FREO’s activities.

Board of Directors

Martin Scorsese

Honorary Chair

 

Anne Marie Riccitelli

President

Since 2005, NGO Representative, UN Department of Public Information. For 29 years, PR Executive and national media spokesperson: Warner Bros Telepictures Productions; Disney-ABC-TV; ABC Television Network.

Madeline Di Nonno

Vice President

Chief Executive Officer of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Di Nonno leads the Institute’s strategic direction, research, education, advocacy, financial and operational activities. Di Nonno brings 30 years of successful international executive and strategic advisor leadership experience in entertainment, non-profit, digital and consumer packaged goods industries. Di Nonno serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Television Academy Foundation; Board of Directors: Population Media Center, and Promundo U.S., Friends of the Erben Organ; Advisory Board for PBS Kid’s Ready Jet Go, GameChanger Films; Strategic Advisor YouTube Red. Di Nonno served as President of the Glass Lions Jury for the Cannes Lions 2016.

Jared Lamenzo

Secretary

Jared Lamenzo is an acclaimed musician, producer, and artist and the Director of Music and Organist of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. He has concertized on historic organs in Germany, Italy, Latin America, and South America, as well as the Vatican, and has worked with Grammy Award–winning artists. He serves as a member of the American Guild of Organists International Performer of the Year Committee and has served the Archdiocesan Music Commission’s Organ Committee. He is an Associate Organist of St. Francis of Assisi Church, and was the Organ Scholar at the First Presbyterian Church of New York. He is a graduate of Harvard in Applied Science and Engineering, with a Master’s degree from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served as President of the revived Harvard Radcliffe Organ Society and ran the Harvard Sunday Jazz Band.

Long fascinated with birdsong, he won a MacArthur Award for his work in environmental education, technology, and art. He has worked as a developer of innovative educational applications, often with music in mind; the latest with funding from the Mozilla Foundation. His music and multimedia works have been shown at the Chelsea Art Museum, Eyebeam, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Genova, Italy), the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Rockefeller Center, the University of British Columbia, Governor’s Island/Figment, the New Museum Ideas City festival, and many others. He has received support for performances from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and other donors, and has spoken widely on pipe organs, music, and STEM and STEAM education. His work as an organist has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, and Sirius Satellite Radio. In his role as Director of Music, he continues to reach diverse audiences with innovative, educational performances of music old and new, as the Basilica builds on its role as a catalyst for the arts in the community and New York City.

Frank Alfieri

Treasurer

President and Founding Principal, Revenue Works Inc., a New York based consulting firm. He is the Director of Development for the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral and revived the tradition of Christian burial on the historic grounds of the church.  Prior to starting his own consulting firm, Frank has held strategic sales and management positions for Fortune 50 and Global 200 Companies and was a member of the leadership team at WorldNow (now Frankly Co.), a ComScore Top 50 web property where he successfully led the turnaround of the Local Advertising Sales business. Frank is a former board member of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation where he served as Director of the Speaker’s Bureau and New Chapter Formation.  He was a recipient of The President’s Volunteer Service Award from George W. Bush, for his work with charitable organizations. He is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York.

 

Advisory Council

Laurence Libin

Curator Emeritus, Rare Musical Instruments, Metropolitan Museum of Art; editor-in-chief of the Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (Oxford University Press, 2014); honorary curator of Steinway & Sons, and past president of the Organ Historical Society. He was educated at the universities of Chicago and London (King’s College) and studied harpsichord with Paul Maynard and Thurston Dart. A prolific scholar and author in the field of organology and a leading advocate of historic preservation, he has taught in the graduate schools of Columbia University and New York University and lectures internationally, from Russia to Mexico City to Japan. In addition to about 200 publications, he has produced two nationally broadcast radio series and is responsible for over a dozen recordings from the Metropolitan Museum’s instrument collection. He is a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and recipient of the Anthony Baines Memorial Prize of the Galpin Society (UK), the Curt Sachs Award of the American Musical Instrument Society, a Likhachov Foundation fellowship (Russia) and numerous other awards and grants.

Rita Nowatzki, SC

A lifelong educator and activist of the Sisters of Charity. She was the Director of Advocacy and PR, New York Foundling (retired); advises on matters relating to Sisters of Charity and their history.

Monsignor Donald Sakano

Monsignor Sakano is the Pastor of the Basilica. He was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of New York in 1971, and while Administrator of the Church of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, he spearheaded the Murray Hill SRO Law Project and the development of a 200-unit Section 8 apartment building for older and disabled people. He was assigned to Catholic Charities in 1979 and received a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in 1981. From 1985 to 1990, he chaired the New York State Catholic Conference Housing Committee. He is currently President and Chairman of Highbridge Community Development Corp. and its affiliates. He is President of the Board of Highbridge Voices, a youth music and education program serving the Highbridge community in the South Bronx. Before his assignment to St. Patrick’s, he was Pastor of the Church of the Holy Innocents for 14 years.

Wellington Chen

Wellington Z. Chen is the Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership. The Partnership is currently working with NYC Department of Transportation to design a wayfinding pilot project which is expected to have the first trial test prototype installed in the ground within 12 months. As the Executive Director and with the Coro NYC Leadership Center, he aims to create transformative projects while creating an infrastructure that can sustain and thrive to deliver meaningful results for the Partnership. Wellington has a long record of community service and civic engagement. As a young volunteer and student studying architecture and environmental studies, he began to see his neighborhood worsening – inspiring a lifelong interest and pursuit in community resuscitation and rejuvenation. In the process Wellington became the first Chinese American to serve on a community board and local development corporation in Queens and was eventually recruited to serve on the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals. He led numerous initiatives and co-founded a number of organizations, including a firm to offer strategic advice and insights to help shape and guide public/private policies. His work as Landmark Committee Chair helped to preserve and restore Flushing Town Hall and he designed the structure that now houses the Tonga Mission to the United Nations.

Suzanne M. Culhane

The Rev. Suzanne M. Culhane is a stewardship and fundraising consultant with nearly 20 years of experience in counseling religious and social service organizations. Working with three international firms and independently, over the course of her career she has assisted more than 100 organizations in raising nearly $95,000,000 for mission and programs. Her expertise includes capital campaigns, major gifts, annual giving, leadership development, and planning processes. Recent client partners include Trinity Church (Boston), Saint Anthony’s Shrine (Boston), the Capuchin Franciscans, and The Church of the Ascension (New York). She frequently leads workshops and retreats in addition to clergy coaching around stewardship and fundraising. She is an Episcopal Priest currently serving at Christ Church in Greenwich, CT. She has served as guest lecturer at The General Theological Seminary in New York. Suzanne holds an M.Div. from Episcopal Divinity School and a B.S. from Siena College. She is a native New Yorker and a lifelong Episcopalian. She believes that God is in the numbers too and delights in building His Kingdom through transformational stewardship.”