Norfolk organist who played at Notre Dame reflects on the fire


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Dr. Stephen Z. Cook has played many concerts in prestigious places, but playing at Notre Dame Cathedral was special.

“I really did feel the presence of God,” he told

Cook has played there twice. Once in 2007 and again in 2017.  He was scheduled to play an upcoming concert in 2021.

Watching fire consume the Cathedral Monday was deeply personal and emotional for Stephen. “Seeing the spire collapsed made me feel the same way I did watching the towers fall in New York City on 911.”

The beloved organ was saved, but it’s unclear how much damage it may have suffered from smoke and debris. It could take a decade Stephen says to take apart and clean each pipe and mechanism and rebuild the instrument.

 “I haven’t reached out to anybody at the Cathedral because at the time of any loss in one’s life there is so much chaos,” he told

In time, Stephen says he will call to check on his friends and let them know he would love to play again one day. 

“I’m not holding my breath about playing there again, I do however feel very, very blessed to have played there twice.”

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