Considered the "Opus 1 of the Renaissance Series," the Allen organ installed in the Basilica of Mission San Dolores in San Francisco will be featured in the summer of 2011 at the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention, with Roger Nyquist playing a recital. With the recent addition of Herald™ speakers and a computer overhaul it has essentially become an entirely new instrument! The clarity of speech and articulation, as well as the ensemble, has been greatly improved.
Mission San Dolores and the adjoining Basilica are visual delights that attract over 50,000 visitors annually. The four-manual organ replaced two pipe organs. The Basilica's main organ circles the high altar. It is duplicated in the gallery of the church. The String Division is located in a dome in the center, 100 feet above the nave. The console and choir are in the right transept with speaker cabinets in the choir loft that duplicate the main organ.
Mission San Dolores was completed in 1791, making it the oldest intact California Mission. Its adobe walls are four feet thick. The original redwood logs supporting the roof remain intact, lashed together with rawhide. The ceiling's Ohlone Indian designs were done with vegetable dye. Access to the choir loft is gained through a spiral staircase. Parish baptisms still take place here, as they have since two months before the official establishment of the Mission. The records are still preserved.
Interestingly, the Mission withstood the shock of the famous 1906 earthquake-but not the Basilica. The present building was completed in 1918. In 1952, Pope Pius XII designated the structure a Basilica. Its marks are the partially opened red and gold umbrella on the right side of the altar, and the carved coat of arms with the papal insignia on the left side. A lovely stained glass window is located at the rear of the church.