Trustee and former Board of Trustees President Elliott “Tony” Roosevelt and his wife, JoAnne, have committed $2 million to support the acquisition of a new pipe organ for the St. Mark’s Chapel. The Roosevelts have four children, including two sons who attended the School, Toby ’81 and David ’89 In addition, their daughter Liz is married to a St. Mark’s graduate, Seth Kelly ’84, a former Alumni Association President. The Roosevelts are longstanding supporters of the Chapel program, having been major contributors to the construction of the building more than twenty years ago, having funded the installation of the Roosevelt Family “24-Bell” Carillon, and now, supporting the new pipe organ.
This new custom instrument is being designed and built in Quebec, Canada, by the world renowned Letourneau Organ Company. It is expected to be completed within two years and will be installed in the St. Mark’s Chapel, finely tuned and “voiced” to fit the acoustic surroundings. The Organ will not only support daily Chapel services, but many special events including a variety of choral services such as Evensong, Lessons & Carols, Baccalaureate, weddings, and choir concerts.
A new pipe organ was one of the specific campus priorities identified at the outset of The Centennial Challenge
. The existing organ has served the School well for many decades but has experienced significant deterioration over time and has been failing for a number of years. In addition, the instrument lacks the range and capacity to adequately support the musical repertoire of the St. Mark’s Choir. The new organ will provide tremendous breadth and range and will be perfectly suited to our specific needs and space.
A Planning Committee consisting of faculty, administrators, and volunteers was assembled several years ago and has worked consistently to determine exactly what the School’s need would be for the next 50-100 years and to make sure the instrument is ideally designed for the St. Mark’s Chapel program.
The School hired David Heller of Trinity University, a noted Pipe Organ expert, to serve as a consultant during this process. Mr. Heller helped the committee evaluate the size, scope, usage, and potential cost of the project, a task similar to the process of planning for a new building. Organs are tailor-made to fit the space in which they reside.
The Committee then went through an exhaustive process of evaluating a variety of organ builders from around the world. Members of the Committee visited a wide variety of facilities to hear instruments that had been installed by different builders in different venues. After months of careful review, three builders were selected to come to campus for a full day of interviews with the entire Committee and present their concepts for a new St. Mark’s organ. Once the Committee agreed on the selection of Letourneau, the School moved the process forward to ensure completion of the project in a timely fashion.
This exciting project would not have come to fruition without the tireless efforts of many volunteers, nor without the financial generosity of several donors, including the Roosevelt Family, whose ongoing commitment to the School will impact students for generations to come.For all of the details of this historic achievement, as well as Campaign highlights, facts, figures, and stories, visit TheCentennialChallengeFinalReport.org.