Allen Organ Company's Portuguese representatives, Carlos and Luis Jeronimo, have installed a three-manual Allen organ in the Shrine of Sao Bento da Porta Aberta (Saint Benedict of the Open Door), located in the mountainous northern part of the Portugal, several hundred miles from Fatima and Lisbon. Rudy Lucente, representing the Allen Organ Company, voiced the instrument. Mr. Lucente also played the opening concert, a dedication Mass and performed on the new instrument with the choir of the Cathedral of Se in the city of Braga (the largest city near the shrine) to a standing-room-only crowd.
The following remarks about the new Quantum instrument are by Dr. Helder Apostolo, choirmaster, Jose de Oliveira Lopes, Cantor and a renowned baritone soloist who performed with the organ and with the choir, and Rul Pereira, organist at Sao Bento da Porta Aberta:
"... I had the honor of participating in an important event in the life of Sanctuary of Saint Bento da Porta Aberta. The event marked the inauguration of the new organ, with which we intended to enrich the liturgical space of the Crypt of the Sanctuary.
"Regarding this event, I have several considerations:
"First of all, it's seems commendable to me that the Brotherhood of S. Bento da Porta Aberta has sought to endow the space of the church, as much with beauty as with valiance, with an instrument capable of providing a beautiful musical accompaniment of liturgical song, while at the same time, as can be verified, having enormous potential for concerts. In a time during which we are bearing witness to the abandonment and degradation of fine instruments due to ignorance or bad faith, it enhances and commends the attitude of that Brotherhood. They took care of the arrangement of the exterior spaces, with their embellishment and equilibrium, in a style that is arranged, yet sober. Now, it encompassed itself with musical art, with the proportioning to the cult or splendor that fits it in its own right, through instrumental music that, with dignity, will accompany the song of the worshippers of God. Here it was able to enhance the art of both organists, or moreover, of the three, that had the opportunities to give "voice," art, and expression to the instrument. I don't want to fail to mention that without their participation, magisterial, as a matter of fact, it wouldn't have been possible for the auditorium to know the great versatility and potentials of the organ. The participation of the baritone Oliveira Lopes and of the Chorus of Se Primacial de Braga, that I have the honor of directing, was valuable in the exploration of the musical capabilities of the instrument...
"And the future? ... I dare to set forth a few opinions:
"First of all, I think that the brotherhood should realize that an instrument such as this one could be very valuable, also, in the musical education of society. Thus said, why not organize a cycle of pedagogical concerts in the name of a cultural explosion for the pilgrims of S. Bento da Porta Aberta?
"In the second place, it is matter of the necessity of formation of a group of organists.
"In the third place, the matter of the formation and existence of a Chorus capable of performing at the height of the liturgical and cultural necessities of the Sanctuary. Without a capable Chorus, the organ sins, of such good, by not having someone accompany it at its level.
The experience I lived was profoundly uplifting. I gathered beautiful fruits from the participation in such a special event. I hope that the Sanctuary and its Brotherhood find paths of development of its diverse potentials that were brilliantly demonstrated."
-Helder Apostolo, Mestre de Capela da Se de Braga
"It was with pleasure that I participated in the inauguration of the new organ of the Crypt of S. Bento da Porta Aberta, not only because of the great organist that accompanied me, but for the collaboration of the Chorus of Se cathedral of Braga. Throughout my career as a singer, I have carried out several church concerts, both abroad and in Portugal, namely, with the wistful organist Simoes da Hora, and I can ascertain the excellent sound and acoustic qualities of the this beautiful instrument."
-Jose de Oliveira Lopes, Cantor
"From my first impressions, as much as what I heard as what I experimented, the new Allen organ of S. Bento da Porta Aberta is a splendid instrument.
"It has a magnificent sound that makes the involvement of the whole assembly possible. This statement can be proven by remembering the day of inauguration with the teachers Rudy and Luca Antoniotti, who gave an excellent image of what the organ has to offer. With the four organs involved, Neo-Barroco, Romantico Frances, Classico Ingles e Classico Americano, it is an instrument that makes possible the use of various registers adjusted to the occasion in which the organ will be used. I cannot say to what the organ owes its great potentials, it will have to continue discovering itself through experience and will."
-Rul Pereira, Organista habitual de S. Bento