It’s hard to imagine many teenagers having Christ Cathedral and its Hazel Wright Organ as a must-see stop on their first trip to California, but that is exactly how Hektor Pitstick felt. So, when the 19-year-old visited Disneyland on a family vacation, he made sure to convince everyone — mother, father and four younger siblings — to embark on a side trip to Christ Cathedral.

“They enjoyed the tour, but I was ‘nerding out’ and asking too many questions,” Pitstick recalled. “It was cool for them to ride the elevator to the top of the building, but they wanted to go back to Disneyland.”

It would be a fateful visit, leading Pitstick, now 20, to become one of a select few Cathedral Organ Scholars at Christ Cathedral parish, a special internship program under the tutelage of cathedral organist and head of music ministry David Ball….

Lauren McCaul, cathedral music administrator, knew that Pitstick showed a lot of potential during his eventful cathedral tour in February 2022. He asked thoughtful questions, she said. He didn’t just want to see the 17,000-pipe Hazel Wright Organ; he wanted to learn about liturgical music, the cathedral music ministry and the Diocese of Orange, said McCaul….

Pitstick reached out to McCaul via email before his family’s Disneyland vacation to “meet Hazel” and talk with the music ministry team.

Unfortunately for Pitstick, the Hazel Wright Organ was not yet unveiled to the public after its $3-million restoration. But McCaul and Ball coyly mentioned to Pitstick that he should come back the next day for the World Marriage Day Mass….

For that Mass on Feb. 7, 2022, Hazel, newly restored and ready for her soft-opening debut, was publicly played for the first time in nearly a decade….

Pitstick discovered Hazel and her Christ Cathedral home during the pandemic. After finally gaining access to an organ at a church in Montana, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so he spent his time at home instead, researching music online and watching YouTube videos. They led him to Hazel.

Pitstick was majoring in organ performance at the University of Montana in Missoula. Ball and McCaul made a by-the-scene plan for Pitstick to transfer and continue his studies at Concordia University in Irvine while also getting real-life experience interning at Christ Cathedral….

From OC Catholic