St. John's Roman Catholic Cathedral
The cathedral’s construction started in 1848—in part to designs by noted church architect Patrick C. Keely. Today, the Keely portion exists as the nave, while, over the next 100 years, transepts, a new rear gallery, tower, and sanctuary were constructed to expand the building to its current configuration. The cathedral has housed several organs, including a significant three-manual 1853 Henry Erben. In 1948, concurrent with the cathedral’s last major expansion, the Votteler-Holtkamp-Sparling Company installed the present organ. Thought by local lore to have utilized old components, a review of extant documents reveals that it was an entirely new organ, stylistically conservative in concept, and more in line with organbuilding trends ten or more years earlier. In his proposal to the Bishop, Holtkamp noted “The Cathedral of the Diocese of Cleveland, we pray,—should have a Main Organ of the first rank;—although not lavish in its appointments.” The result is a twin-console three-manual gallery organ (Opus 1630) with a “Rück-Great” flanked by divided matching cases, and a chancel organ (Opus 1631) installed behind a 41-foot carved oak reredos. Ken Cowan will demonstrate the organ for us. We will enjoy the large-voiced diapasons, colorful flutes, English-influenced reeds, and many string choruses this organ offers in this acoustically favorable environment.