Century-old reed organ being moved to St. Hedwig’s for Midnight Mass

BARRY’S BAY – Centenary liturgical celebrations at St. Hedwig’s Parish in Barry’s Bay, Ontario this Christmas will be brightened by the presence of the original parlour organ used to accompany the singing of the solemn Latin High Mass of the Nativity and the Polish koledy in the church 100 years ago.
The 116-year-old triple reed pump organ, property of Dr. B. A. Ron Glofcheskie, will be used in performance at the opening of Midnight Mass in remembrance of the first parishioners and the founding pastor, Rt. Rev. Peter B. Biernacki.  The organ has been on loan to St. Hedwig’s Rectory since it was extensively restored and reconditioned by Glofcheskie in 2009 in anticipation of the 2014 centenary.
The instrument has a long and circuitous history according to Glofcheskie who fell heir to the museum piece as payment-in-kind for house painting he did in the area during his years prior to medical school.
The organ was manufactured on June 21, 1898 by D. W. Karn & Co. of Woodstock, Ontario, one of the largest and most prestigious piano and organ manufacturers in Canadian history.  It was in the possession of pioneers John and Mary (nee Kiedrowski) Etmanski, after they moved from their farm in Sherwood Township to Stafford Street in Barry’s Bay in 1904.  It has been in the Etmanski family since that time, reports Glofcheskie, a great-grandson of John and Mary.
After the turn of the nineteenth century, in addition to the parlour organ on the main floor, the Etmanski home on Stafford Street also housed a designated “priest’s room” reserved exclusively for visiting priests of the old Mission Church of the Assumption in Siberia, and afterwards, for Msgr. Biernacki from 1913 until St. Hedwig’s Rectory was built in 1922.
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