Description of Saint Michael's Cathedral Organ by Abbot Claude Paradis
This organ is actually the third organ in the cathedral's history, at least if one considers the major modifications carried out on the second one. After the demolition in 1917 of the former parish church which had served as the cathedral up to that point, there was a 2-manual organ built by Antoine-Couillard which was inaugurated by Rosa d'Erina in 1874. Bishop LaRocque started the construction of the new cathedral with the Pauline Chapel, where the 3-manual Casavant organ, opus 704, was inaugurated by Joseph Bonnet on 24 November 1920. The builder used a fair amount of pipework from the first organ of 1874. This new single buffet instrument was installed in the rear balcony which was only a few feet above the main floor. At the time, the cost was $6,300.
When Bishop Georges Cabana completed the current cathedral in 1956, he declined the purchase of a new organ and simply transported the one from the Pauline Chapel to the second balcony. Furthermore, in order to avoid hiding the stained glass windows representing the four evangelists in the church's facade, he requested the installer of the instrument, Mr. Audet, to separate the instrument into two sections, the Swell on one side and the Positive and the Great on the other.
Upon finishing the restoration in 1987 by Guilbeault-Therrien, instead of reuniting the buffet of the organ, the builders removed the Positive by putting it to rest in the middle of the balcony, close to the railing, therefore balancing the volume between the organ's divisions. Nine new stops were added to the organ: an 8-foot Bourdon and a 4-rank Mixture on the Great, an 8-foot Bourdon, a 2-rank Cornet and a 3-rank Plein Jeu on the Positive, an 8-foot Principal, a 4-foot Octave, a 16-foot Bombardon and an 8-foot Trumpet on the Pedal.
We find ourselves faced with an organ that is very much increased in brilliance.