LEWISTON – The Franco-American Heritage Center at the former St. Mary’s Church, which is looking forward to having the Frazee organ restored, has received its first donation to the restoration fund.

The organ, which was located in the choir loft of the church, is now on the front stage of the facility. Cote Crane Corp. lifted it from the choir loft, lowered it to the floor and moved it to the front stage area where, eventually, it will be electronically reconnected to the pipes in the rear.

One of Maine’s leading organ restoration specialists, Robert Faucher of Biddeford, said, “The organ is stunning … it is one of the finest and one of the largest Frazee has ever made. They are usually much smaller and there are very few of them around. This one is a treasure.”

The estimated cost for a full restoration and a fund to endow its yearly maintenance and upkeep is $100,000.

Center Executive Director Rita Dube said, “If there is an organ lover out there who would like to have this magnificent organ dedicated to them, they could consider a gift of this size. which would help restore a piece of this community’s history. A plaque would be engraved with their name and placed on the organ as well as having the first organ concert in their honor.”

A St. Mary’s parishioner, Marie Jeanne Laurendeau, played the organ for many years and wanted to be the first to make a donation toward the restoration fund. She said she has many fond memories of her days rehearsing with the choir and accompanying them at weekly Masses.

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