St. Aloysius
Catholic Church

Baton Rouge, LA

Two manuals and pedal
26 stops, 33 ranks
Mechanical Action
St. Aloysius Catholic Church

A “Lagniappe” experience for the new pipe organ

Saint Aloysius Catholic Church enjoys a strong choir tradition. With the generous gift of a parishioner, the new mechanical action pipe organ is adding possibilities and enhancement in the church music program.

For this large contemporary building, Casavant designed a two-manual pipe organ containing 26 stops and 33 ranks, for a total of 1741 pipes. The French-style instrument is based on a sixteen foot Plenum. With adequate foundations, divided Jeu de Tierce and colorful reed voices, the organ is capable of ethereal effects, and one can build up a rich and grandiose full organ including the Dessus de Chamade. This is a modest size instrument perfectly adapted to the room.

The mahogany casework with highlights of maple blends with the architecture of the church. The organ’s location in the North transept window is a great location for the liturgy and musical programs, and the perfect space to protect the organ from changes of temperature since the sun is never on the North side.

Ken Thevenet, St. Aloysius Director of Music and Liturgy, is sharing his experience on the process of building a new pipe organ at St. Aloysius Church:

In Louisiana, we often use a Creole word, “Lagniappe.” (Pronounced Lan-Yap) Lagniappe is something extra that is graciously given by a merchant to a customer. It is like a thirteenth doughnut added to a dozen by a baker, or an extra handful of shrimp thrown in by a fisherman for the Gumbo. St. Aloysius Parish’s experience with Casavant Frères in the crafting of our new mechanical action organ was filled with many experiences of Lagniappe.

From our first meeting with representatives of the company, we realized that Casavant Frères had the “something extra” that we were looking for in an Organ Builder. First of all, the designers at Casavant sought to understand our criteria for the new organ. The lagniappe in this first stage of the project was that we, the clients, were sincerely invited to be involved in a collaborative design process. This welcoming of our involvement in collaboration with the Casavant designers has resulted in a unique and beautiful new organ which very successfully reflects our needs and desires.

Our primary goal was to build an instrument designed to accompany the singing of our choirs and congregation in the hymns, anthems, songs and acclamations of the Roman Catholic Liturgy. Our new organ accomplishes this through rich, full, supporting choruses that do not overwhelm or drown out the singing of the choir or the liturgical assembly. In addition, we sought a mechanical action organ that could effectively perform a significant portion of the organ repertoire. This moderate sized, two-manual organ very beautifully renders the music of the Baroque, as well as many 19th century composers from all schools of organ composition. Finally, we needed an organ builder who would respect and harmonize the visual design of the new instrument with the simple “craftsman style” architecture of the church. Most people who enter the church today comment on the beauty of the case design and the way in which it complements the window in the north transept.

The people of St. Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge have come to truly appreciate the gifts of all in the Casavant Company involved in the design, crafting, assembly and voicing of Opus 3890. Our people feel that we have been given a special gift, a lagniappe from our northern cousins.