A preserved glass window of Notre Dame cathedral are pictured Wednesday, April 17, 2019 in Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral would have been completely burned to the ground in a "chain reaction collapse" had firefighters not moved rapidly in deploying their equipment to battle the blaze racing through the landmark monument, a Paris official said Wednesday. Credit: Thibault Camus | AP

The significance of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris goes beyond religion, a Maine conductor said.

It also played a major role in modern day music.

Windham’s Richard Nickerson has been conducting music in Maine for more than 30 years, and said musically speaking, there is no other place like Notre Dame, which was largely destroyed by fire Monday after standing for more than 800 years.

[Mainers in Paris describe Notre Dame fire as ‘surreal’ and heartbreaking]

“There was a school of composition that came from there which is actually called the Notre Dame School, which is the birthplace of polyphonic music, western music as we know it started in Notre Dame,” Nickerson said.

Nickerson says he has had the privilege of conducting music inside the cathedral four times.

While each experience was different, the one thing that stayed the same was the incredible way music emanates throughout the cathedral.

[Emmanuel Macron vows to rebuild Notre Dame within 5 years]

“The cathedral was designed in a way that the sound goes up and spreads out, so that when you’re standing in the cathedral, when a choir is singing, it sounds like they are coming from above. It was really quite incredible,” Nickerson said.

Nickerson says he looks forward to returning to Notre Dame when the cathedral is rebuilt.

A group of Americans from Maine had just finished visiting Notre Dame Cathedral and were in a nearby park when they heard it was on fire.

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Freeport resident Lucy Soule, 22, said it was “weird” having been in the church right before this happened. “Now you can smell it burning.”

Soule and her father, Win Soule, 58, and Libby Heselton, 53, are on a weeklong trip to Paris where they planned to “see all the sights” and had just finished their visit to Notre Dame. They had been in the cathedral at 5:30 p.m., about an hour before the fire.

Win told The Associated Press: “Now I feel sorry for the people tomorrow. They won’t be able to see it.”