St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Parish Antioch, California
St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Parish, Antioch, California, in the Diocese of Oakland, was founded in 1979. The building is an octagonal classic design, which is divided into the worship space and the parish hall. The dividing wall serves as both the reredos and the support system for the handsome pipework, which was recently installed and interfaced to a three manual Rodgers Trillium Masterpiece 958 digital organ. The console is also equipped with a Rodgers MX200 Sound Module, which plays through the MIDI system of the instrument. This is an instrument of seemingly unlimited tonal resources, which can perform the literature and music styles of all ages.
In 2005, Father Robert Rien was assigned to St. Ignatius of Antioch. Taking office in early January 2006 he realized there was no instrument to support the sung prayer of the community. The director of music at that time had both a piano and organ background, having studied at St. Meinrad Abbey. Father Robert contacted the Rodgers representative and by Ash Wednesday of that year, a two manual and pedal, 20 stop instrument with Northern European voicing was in place. He reports, “The look on the faces of the assembly as they gathered for liturgy on Ash Wednesday was one of surprise, bordering on shock – they heard a beautiful prelude being played for the first time in the parish’s history and wondered where the pipes were!” This was a totally different musical experience from the former format, which for years used only piano and guitars.
In 2009, Donald Pearson was appointed Director of Music and Organist. He had been Director of Music and Organist for the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Denver, Colorado for almost 25 years and had established a program of national and international prominence. Father Rien realized, “It became immediately apparent that we needed to replace the two manual instrument with an instrument equal to the skill and artistry of Mr. Pearson.” In 2010, a three manual Rodgers Trillium Masterpiece 958 instrument was installed through the generosity of an anonymous donor.
In 2012, the organ was brought to its present state with the addition of 19 ranks (1159 pipes) of premium quality windblown pipes. The scale and composition of the pipework interfaced perfectly with the digital voices. Father says, “The sound is nothing shortly of thrilling and the masterful accompanying of Mr. Pearson has transformed the singing of the assembly. This is a Catholic parish that truly sings the liturgy!”
The music program continues to grow with the establishment of a monthly concert series featuring the organ as solo instrument, organ and other instruments, and the organ as accompaniment for choral works. The concert series continues to this day with between 150 and 500 people in attendance at each concert. The series is a gift not only to the parish but also to all the people of East Contra Costa County.