TAMIU Readies to Unwrap Sharkey-Corrigan Pipe Organ

TAMIU Readies to Unwrap Laredo's Largest
Gift to Arts: Sharkey-Corrigan Pipe Organ

When the first notes sound on the new Sharkey-Corrigan Pipe Organ at Texas A&M international University Sunday, July 23, they'll signal the arrival of the largest philanthropic gift supporting the arts in Laredo.

The $1.2 million organ, over three years in the planning and construction, is a gift of The E. H. Corrigan Foundation.

"It's a really a phenomenal investment that's unparalleled in the history of the arts in Laredo," said TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck, " We are so honored to be able to be home to the Sharkey-Corrigan Pipe Organ and to provide our students and the community with an opportunity to learn about and hear its majestic sound."

The Inaugural Recital takes place at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 23  in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts' Recital Hall.             

Admission to the event is free of charge and the public is urged to arrive early, as seating will be limited.

Guest artist will be Dr. David Heller of San Antonio's Trinity University,  considered one of the nation's most outstanding organists and recording artists by The American Organist, which has hailed him as "an eloquent performer"  and called his most recent recording, "Veni Creator Spiritus" (Calcante Recordings) an "excellent demonstration of outstanding music making on a contemporary American organ."

The afternoon program will include the debut of an especially commissioned work, "A Laredo Fanfare," by American composer Gerre Hancock.  The program will also include selections by J. S. Bach, Duruflé , Elgar, Franck and Noble.

The Kegg Company of Hartville, Ohio, constructed the Organ. After a national search, the Kegg Company was chosen to build this landmark instrument.  The new organ has 69 ranks and 52 stops.

It features 3998 pipes arranged in 69 sets or ranks. It has four keyboards and its pipes are placed in three locations.  The largest pipes are made of zinc, but most of the pipes are made of alloys of tin and lead. Three sets of wood pipes are made of poplar, basswood and pine. The total weight of the organ is approximately 35,000 pounds.

The University has created a special Sharkey-Corrigan Pipe Organ microsite on its Web site which provides a special time-lapse construction video which "builds" the Organ.

The site is available at:  http://www.tamiu.edu/organ/  (or by clicking on "Sharkey-Corrigan Pipe Organ" in the left navigation bar of tamiu.edu). 

In addition to the video, which compresses three weeks of on-site construction into four and a half minutes, information is available on The E. H. Corrigan Foundation; Dr. Heller, the history  of the Organ ... and more.

You may also contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, visit offices in Killam Library 268, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or click on tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu