The Pipe Organ at Saint Paul’s
According to the Second Vatican Council, “the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, since it is its traditional instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lift up men’s minds to God and higher things.”Sacrosanctum Concilium 120
About Saint Paul’s Organ
The organ at Saint Paul’s is named Margo in honor of a generous benefactor that donated the first donation to have an organ in the chapel many years ago.
The pipe organ is the chief liturgical instrument after the human voice. There is nearly a thousand years’ worth of organ repertoire that has been developed for the Mass, Divine Office and the Church. It is a deeply symbolic instrument, consisting of a number of sounds that mix together and descend from the ceiling of the Church, turning into a voice that descends from the heavens beckoning man’s heart up to God.
Our organ is a world class organ that is meant to serve a number of functions. First and foremost, it is meant to be a liturgical instrument. Secondly, it is supposed to be a resource for organists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both for those seeking to learn to play the organ, but also for those who are already well versed. Our organ has 41 stops (the different voices so to speak), so as to create a wide range of sounds for a variety of uses.
Organ Concert 2023
Saint Paul’s is grateful for the opportunity to have welcomed 200 students and guests to the Organ Concert on February 4, 2023. Bruce Bengtson, the renowned guest artist, presented music of Bach, Krebs, Guilmant and Langlais.
A highlight for many people that attended was the hymn sing, a part of the concert where guests could request songs, Bruce would spontaneously play them and the people in the audience would sing along. The community coming together to sing with the organ emphasizes how the pipe organ can help people lift their hearts to God.
“The organ playing was exceptional as usual. The hymn sing gave me goosebumps as it was so fantastic to hear the wonderful singing!” said an anonymous guest.
If you missed this event, below is a link to the concert. Enjoy!
Meet our music team.
After over 40 years as Director of Music at Luther Memorial Church in Madison WI, Bruce retired in 2018. Beginning organ study in Salem, Oregon, at the age of 11, he earned degrees in organ performance at Southern Methodist University and Valparaiso University, winning state and national competitions during his college years.
Bruce has been featured in concerts in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Europe. He continues to play services and concerts, accompany vocalists/instrumentalists, teach organ lessons, and is a member of the Organ Historical Society, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and the American Guild of Organists.
He taught organ lessons at Lawrence University, Appleton, WI 2019-2020, and is now organist/choir director for the Madison Cathedral Parish at its two buildings: Holy Redeemer and St. Patrick’s.
Director of Music
Maria is from Elm Grove, Wisconsin. She learned how to sing from her choir directors and music teachers, especially Julie Cucunato, at St. Mary’s Visitation Catholic School and Parish and from her voice teacher, James Doing, at UW- Madison.
Her instrument is the human voice. 😉
The organ is beautiful because it’s the official instrument of the Catholic Church and so many different sounds come from that one instrument.
Saint Paul’s Principal Organist
Jaret is pleased to serve as the organist at Saint Paul’s.
He received his first liturgical training while at St. Benedict’s Abbey. His love of organ music has been forged over years of dedication and service from the organ console.
His favorite instrument is, of course, the pipe organ. However, he has a soft spot for the oboe. He thinks everyone should join us for the organ concert.
The pipe organ serves a unique and vital role in the context of the Mass and it supports the most beautiful music of all: the human voice singing the praises of God.