Schwab Organ Restoration

In 1974,

The Historic Matthias Schwab Tracker Organ (1859) was rededicated in the Cathedral Basilica.

A tangible testament to the history of the Diocese of Covington, Ky, the priceless instrument had been spared destruction when the church which housed the organ was razed.

At the Basilica, an informal series of organ recitals followed this momentous event in the history of Covington, and quickly evolved into a full season with a series of programs. The concerts began featuring not just organ music, but expanded to choral, brass, and orchestral music.

The Greater Cincinnati music community embraced this series format, word spread, and now the Cathedral Concert Series celebrates over 42 years of sacred and inspired classical music concerts.

Under the artistic direction of Dr. Robert J. Schaffer, with his wife Rita Avram Schaffer, the Cathedral Concert Series flourished, receiving local and national recognition in the realm of sacred music series. In each season, and in each concert, there is something for listeners of all ages. Robert and Rita performed on numerous concert occasions, and began the presentation of 3 annual programs - all of which are now the most heavily attended dates each year.

The Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols, An Epiphany Epilogue, and the J.S. Bach Birthday Celebration have all become patron favorites.

Of particular importance to the founders was that these concerts would be offered with no admission charge - and always open to the general public.

This model defines the mission of the Cathedral Concert Series, and as a role of the active urban Cathedral; that is, to provide a musical outreach and access to the greater community with no cost to the individual, regardless of their financial disposition.

We welcome all to these fulfilling concert events and are honored to have you visit our beautiful Cathedral Basilica.

​With gratitude, the Cathedral Concert Series has continued by the grace of God and generosity of its patrons with only freewill offerings taken up at concerts.

​Your generous financial support is needed to continue the series and help make it possible to offer the public free of any admission charge. Please know that any amount will make a difference, and all human assistance in producing this concert series is volunteered.

In recent years it has become apparent that the Schwab Organ is in need of major restoration and refurbishment. In the coming year a fundraising campaign will continue to secure funding for complete restoration of the Schwab Organ. Funding will be sought not only for the restoration work, but also for educational outreach, artist stipends, and the assurance of maintenance well into the future.

Many skilled hands and generous hearts built, played and cared for this instrument. It will likewise require many skilled hands and generous hearts to insure the preservation of a priceless legacy.

The legacy left to us by Matthias Schwab, and preserved for us by Robert Schaffer, will serve for generations as an instrument of praise, an instrument of teaching, and a profound example of skilled craftsmanship that flourished in the Ohio Valley region over 150 years ago. 

Please consider being a part of this important campaign. Your generosity will help save this instument for generations to come, enrich the lives of countless people who witness its beauty.

                        Dr. Robert J. Schaffer (1974)                                                              Dr. Gregory J. Schaffer (2018)


Gregory Schaffer
Covington, KY

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