Organ Rescue, Restoration, & Installation

           1927 E. M. SKINNER OPUS 669 3 MANUALS 

– 36 STOPS – 40 REGISTERS – 36 RANKS – 2,431 PIPES

            ORGAN RESCUe, Restoration, and Installation

    Originally installed at the First Church of Christ – Scientist, 728 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse New York and to be installed at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 927 Park Avenue, Syracuse New York.

     The property at 728 E. Genesee Street is being developed into apartment units and the fate of the organ was unknown and presumed that it would be destroyed.

     The organ has been graciously donated to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the kind hearts of the Sivin and Levine Families of 728 EGSLLC.

     The organ rescue was completed Thursday February 8, 2018 by the Organ Clearing House.  Kerner & Merchant Pipe Organ Builders of East Syracuse, New York will restore and install the Skinner at the Basilica beginning April 09, 2018.

     If you agree that the rescue of this original, unaltered E. M. Skinner pipe organ is worthy of your financial support, we would gratefully accept a donation of any size.  The cost of this project is $469,000.00 USD and every dollar counts.  Please click on the PayPal button below to make your tax deductible contribution.

     You can follow the project status on Face Book at E.M. Skinner Opus 669 Project.  Should you have any questions, please contact Frank Schultz, Music Director via email at

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Suggested Giving

Suggested Giving

       Name: ____________________________________________

       Envelope Number: __________________________________

       Address: ___________________________________________

       City / State / Zip Code: ______________________________

       In Memory of: ______________________________________

Small Pipe Donor    _____ (#of pipes) x $1,000 per pipe

                                                             $ ____________.00 Total

Medium Pipe Donor _____ (#of pipes) x $2,500 per pipe

                                                              $ ____________.00 Total

Large Pipe Donor    _____ (#of pipes) x $5,000 per pipe 

                                                             $ _____________.00 Total

Console Donor           _____                               $10,000.00

Other                                                            $ ________.00 Total

      Please complete the above form and place this form with your check in an envelope noted “Organ Fund” and place in the Sunday Collection or in the US Mail addressed to:

            927 Park Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13204.

                        (Your donation is tax deductible)

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Syracuse, New York
Organ Replacement and Restoration
1927 E. M. Skinner, Opus 669

     After 108 years of service, our 1910 M. P. Moller pipe organ is in desperate need of repair.  In 2015, a letter from then organ curator Tomasz Lewtak, stated that the organ is in such disrepair that he recommended replacing it with a new pipe organ.  A new pipe organ similar in size to our M. P. Moller would cost approximately $775,000.00 to $1,000,000.00.  In 2016, an estimate from Kerner & Merchant Pipe Organ Builders to rebuild our Moller organ would cost between $350,000.00 and $400,000.00.  Upon careful consideration, it was decided that it was time to replace our organ with a quality used pipe organ.  And so the search began to find a suitable replacement in North America or Europe. 

     Through a tip from Trustee Phil Felice in May of 2017, Frank Schultz located an original, unaltered 1927 E. M. Skinner pipe organ, Opus 669.  Through some negotiation with the owners, the Levine and Sivin Families of 728 EGSU LLC, Long Island, New York agreed to donate the organ to the Basilica.  Opus 669 was originally built for the First Church of Christ – Scientist at 728 East Genesee Street, Syracuse.  The church was sold in April 2003 and has sat dormant since.  Upon inspection of the organ in early June 2017, it was found to be in outstanding shape and a perfect fit for the Basilica.  The organ is a 3 manual organ with 36 stops, 40 registers, 36 ranks and 2,431 pipes which is about 700 more pipes than our M. P. Moller, which has approximately 1,700 pipes.  To use an automobile analogy, we are trading in our Ford for a Rolls Royce.

     Unaltered E. M. Skinner pipes organs are some of the most sought after pipe organs and are a rarity with only 79 of 751 original organ projects remaining in the world.  Ernest Martin Skinner was one of the most sought after and successful American pipe organ builders of the early 20th century.  The sound of his instruments is both bold and unique.  In speaking with John Bishop of the Organ Clearing House of Boston, Mass, he has 6 individuals looking to acquire an unaltered E. M. Skinner pipe organ on the waiting list and they have been on the list for a good part of ten years.  That being said, we are very lucky to have this historical and desired instrument to be installed in our historic church building.

     We have solicited bids from three organ builders to remove, restore and install Opus 669.  Those builders are Kerner & Merchant Pipe Organ Builders of East Syracuse, Parsons Pipe Organ Builders of Canandaigua, New York and Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. of Northampton, Massachusetts.  After careful consideration, the contract for the project was awarded to Kerner & Merchant Pipe Organ Builders of East Syracuse at a cost of $469,000.00. 

     Removal was to begin in October 2017, but due to a number of unforeseen issues with the removal contractor, removal of the organ occurred between Wednesday, January 31, 2018 and Thursday, February 8, 2018.  The original date for completion of installation was to be December 7, 2018 but due to the delays or removal, the organ will be completed in time for Easter 2019. 

     We now are asking for your financial support of this project.  We realize that we are still in the process of completing pledges for the much needed parish hall project, but ask you once again to support your parish in this much needed project. 

     Above, you will see the Suggested Giving page.  We ask that you consider any amount listed or not listed. 

     Small, Medium and Large pipe donors will receive a small, medium or large pipe from our Moller organ as a gift.

     Console Donor will have your name inscribed on a plaque to be attached to the Skinner organ console.

     If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Frank Schultz at

     You can also follow the progress and view pictures on Face Book at - E.M. Skinner Opus 669 Project.

                               May God Bless You!