Giving the Gift of Music
For Pat Macoska ’69, building a musical instrument for Saint Ignatius High School was more than a pipe dream. In 2015, he completed the magnificent pipe organ residing in St. Mary of the Assumption Chapel.
“I wanted to do something for Saint Ignatius that exemplified the value I received from my education here.”
It is fitting, then, that his gift combined both of his career tracks: architecture and music.
“As a kid, I was always interested in how things worked, so I took a keen interest in the organ as a freshman at Saint Ignatius,” he explains. He credits the Jesuit learning model of textbook theory combined with critical thinking and reasoning skills for providing the basis for success in school as well as in his professional life. “The emphasis at Saint Ignatius is not only on learning, but also on having a love of learning, of being inquisitive, of developing interests in new things. That has served me well in all that I’ve done.”
In 1968, during his junior year retreat, Macoska met Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. who was building a pipe organ for the retreat house. It was an experience Macoska never forgot. And when the pipe organ at Gesu parish in Detroit was recently decommissioned, Fr. Serrick made several ranks of pipes available for the project at Saint Ignatius. Macoska used his training in architecture to design how the organ would fit into the space in an aesthetically pleasing way. He used his knowledge of music to select and arrange the 1,230 pipes so they would speak to the congregation as well as beautify the chapel. “It was a challenge to build the organ in Michigan when it was going to be installed in Cleveland. But amazingly it was assembled in two weeks by four people once it arrived on campus,” he explains.
Macoska’s advice to the Saint Ignatius students of today? Invent careers out of activities you love.