Active seniors take a trip to enjoy the 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ
Pre-coronavirus: On two occasions, in November and December 2019, we hosted active seniors from Brookdale Senior Living, who came on a trip to learn about and hear the historic 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ.
The afternoons started with Basilica organist and music director Jared Lamenzo introducing both the 1859 Hall & Labagh chancel organ to the seniors. This organ has the advantage of being on the floor level, easily seen by our visitors, who could not go up the stairs into the Erben organ loft.
Jared talked about the way a pipe organ works, the history of pipe organs at the Basilica, and played some pieces to illustrate the different colors of the elegant Hall & Labagh instrument. We even did a sing-along of some favorite hymn tunes.
Following the Hall & Labagh presentation, Jared moved to the majestic 1868 Henry Erben organ. The seniors, even those hard of hearing, appreciated the waves of music issuing forth from the great pipes.
The November event proved so successful and popular that there was a waiting list at Brookdale, and their specialized van couldn’t accommodate every senior who wished to go on the trip.
Friends of the Erben Organ invited the seniors who couldn’t come in November to an encore in December, this time focusing on seasonal and Victorian Christmas hymns.
Following the presentations, our guests asked really great questions about learning to be an organist, about harmoniums and listening to Messiaen in Paris!
The Erben field trips by the Brookdale Senior Living residents were the highlight of their day. Special thanks to the Brookdale organizers, Alexandra Ellen Leaf and Whitney Glandon, for making this possible. We hope everyone stays healthy and safe! We look forward to getting back to normal.