When we built Opus 27 for Idlewild Presbyterian Church, Memphis, TN, in 1988, the 47 stop, three manual tracker organ was Bedient’s largest project to date. Inspired by organs of 18th and 19th Century France, the instrument featured a console positioned between two halves of the organ located in chancel chambers that faced each other.
Seven members of the Bedient crew are currently at Idlewild to refurbish the organ. Highlights of the project include:
- Convert mechanical key action to electric key action
- Install a motorized pedalboard elevator
- Convert mechanical pedal action to electric pedal action
- Replace keyboards
- Revise console for new stops and controls
- Update pneumatic stop action systems
From top, counterclockwise, Ed Stibal prepares to modify the console. Todd Lange, wire wrangler. Nick Ryan, pallet inspector. Todd Lange in the tracker tunnel. Gene Bedient and Nick Ryan discuss the new stop jambs. Gene, Fred Zander and Ed disassemble the console.
A note from Gene:
We’ve been quite swamped (but never overwhelmed) with many little details at Idlewild and have been working long hours. On Saturday morning, we sent Todd Lange home. This morning, Nick Ryan leaves us. Paul Lytle, Ed Stibal, Fred Zander and Gene Bedient remain. At noon Tuesday, the new key action system was activated and it plays as promised. The organ lives again! For the next two days, we will be working on a list of minor details and plan to ship the equipment home on Thursday and leave on Friday. Paul, Gene and Nick have completed the installation of new stop action air cylinders, renewing the system and making it quieter than it was before–thanks to better cylinders available today and greater knowledge of our own. Ed and Fred have nearly completed the console revisions which include new keyboards, new stopjambs, a new control system and also a pedalboard elevator, to accommodate various sizes of organists.
Clockwise from top left: Paul Lytle and the revised pneumatics. Ed Stibal continues the console revision. Fred Zander installs the pedalboard elevator. Organist Ted Gibboney inspects the new keyboards.