By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published March 26, 2009
For a while, Vivian White had a dream of an organ at St. Peter Chanel Church. A big fan of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, she felt it would add a great deal to the place of worship.
That dream came true, two years to the day after her death, as more than 600 people came together March 18 to dedicate a new organ in her memory.
Her husband, Richard, donated the instrument, which was built and installed by Allen Organs, in honor of his wife, preserving the memory of her and her wish for a beautiful organ in the Roswell parish sanctuary.
White was in attendance at the dedication and blessing with his two daughters, Cindy Tynes and Katy Velez, as well as his granddaughter, Emily Velez.
Vivian White suffered a brain aneurism and died on March 18, 2007.
Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue presided over a blessing of the organ, while former pastor Father Frank McNamee, who recently moved to a new assignment, spoke at the memorial celebration.
Following the blessing, Diane Bish, a world-renowned organist, performed a concert on the new instrument.
Bish, a classical organist whose PBS television program “The Joy of Music” is broadcast to an audience of over 300 million people worldwide, gave the crowd a concert of over an hour of music on the three-manual, eight-octave digital/pipe hybrid organ.
Afterward, Bish stayed for a reception where she visited with those who came to celebrate the addition to the church.
Mrs. White “always wanted that pipe organ,” said Debi Moore, pastoral secretary for St. Peter Chanel Church. “It is such a beautiful instrument.”
Moore said she was surprised when they ran out of the 600 programs they printed for the event, but was encouraged by the strong showing of support from the surrounding community.