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Abbott to give benefit concert on restored cathedral organ


Cathedral music director emeritus Leo Abbott will give a Sept. 15 benefit concert on the Cathedral of the Holy Cross's restored 1875 E. and G. G. Hook and Hastings pipe organ. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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BRAINTREE -- Cathedral music director emeritus Leo Abbott will be returning to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sept. 15 to lead his 26th annual organ benefit concert featuring the cathedral's newly restored pipe organ.

Abbott became the cathedral's organist and music director in 1986. Over the course of his 33-year tenure, he spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the restoration and maintenance of the 1875 E. and G. G. Hook and Hastings Opus 801 pipe organ, which was barely playable when he came to the position. His recital to raise funds for the project became an annual tradition.

Abbott played at many important archdiocesan events, including Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley's installation as Archbishop of Boston in 2003. He has given recitals across the United States as well as in Ireland, England, France, and Belgium.

In 2018, when the position of cathedral music director was expanded to the entire archdiocese, Abbott decided to retire. He was succeeded by musician and composer Richard Clark.

The concert, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Sept. 15 will be the first organ concert in Holy Cross Cathedral since its recent renovations, which took almost two years to complete. During that time, many of the organ's pipes were removed and kept offsite to protect them from dust and debris. The renovations included replacing the cathedral's carpet with a marble floor, greatly improving the acoustics.

According to the cathedral website, the concert will include works by Vierne, Franck, Bach, and Hakim. Admission is free, but donations to benefit the Organ Restoration Fund will be accepted. Donations can also be made at holycrossboston.churchgiving.com/Organ.

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