Organ in Athens Comes out of Hibernation
Everything has its season. We are entering our season of service and maintenance. We have been working on instruments in Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. Ohio was a particularly interesting project. The pipe organ in Galbreath Chapel, on the Ohio University campus in Athens, was dormant during renovations to the worship space. The photo on the right shows the instrument, Opus 56, during the crew’s time there. The job took two of our guys a few days to complete. We partnered with our friends at A. R. Schopp’s Sons. Together, we made some modifications to the instrument and gave it a good tuning and check up. It’s satisfying to maintain instruments we designed and built. Pipe organs are designed to outlive the builders. Opus 56 feels like a kid again!
Opus 89 Finds its Voice
Our Voicing Team is now in charge of the Opus 89 project at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Voicing does what its name implies, gives the instrument its unique voice. The Sanctuary is filled with notes, held and adjusted. One guy sits at the console, pulls a stop, holds down a note, and says, “F-sharp! I need it a little louder.” The guy in the pipe chamber pulls the pipe, enlarges the hole in its bottom, and replaces it. This is repeated for every pipe in the chamber. It takes patience, persistence, and attention to detail. It also takes a great deal of time, but it is the neccessary step that takes the pipe organ from machine to instrument.
An organist rarely plays one note or stop at a time. Once individual notes are voiced, the guy at the console plays a sample piece of music, using one stop, and then mixes it with others. This is the part of the art that makes an instrument. It’s exciting to hear all the months of work coming together. Sitting in the Sancutary, hearing the choir come from the left and the bulk of the sound from the front, is a little awe-inspiring. Knowing the process that led to this moment makes it that much more impressive. Below are three videos, showing the various parts of the process.