eNotes — May 2015

Traditional Worship is Alive and Well

Opus 8 at St. Thomas Aquinas in Lincoln, Nebraska

Opus 8
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
Lincoln, Nebraska

Last month we celebrated a new life for our Opus 8 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, the new Newman Center for the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. On Sunday, April 12th, the new church was packed with donors, dignitaries, and students. The dedication mass included some stunning high renaissance vocal repertoire, and the beautiful sounds of our grand instrument.

This project was a joy! It was a pleasure to work with the clergy and architects, all of whom were dedicated to creating a worship space that would endure. We finished this project with a sense that the tides are starting to turn back towards more traditional worship styles. The praise band era seems to be coming to a close. The students at the university seem to be searching for something outside of their normal culture. We think that bodes well for the immediate future of the pipe organ. And that is certainly good news for us!

For photos of this project, see our Facebook page.

No Job is Too Small!

The Bellows Boys of Immanuel Lutheran in Daykin, Nebraska

We just started a small job in a small, Nebraska town, called Daykin (it rhymes with bacon). It’s a little more than a job, it’s preserving history.

Immanuel Lutheran Church was built in 1909, complete with a tracker organ by George Kilgen & Son of St. Louis, Missouri. Back then, the church and pipe organ together cost $11,684.76. The dedication was April 3, 1910. The church records show Henry Schwisow was promised an annual salary of $15 to pump the organ. In 1920 the congregation worked out a volunteer organ pumping schedule, and in 1942, they purchased an electric blower, and then presumably all took a nap. The photo on the right shows the initials the men who “volunteered” to pump the organ carved over those 30 years.

Now it’s our turn to improve the winding of this instrument. We’re releathering the bellows, adjusting the pedal bourdon, doing some spot key action tracker adjustment, and giving it a full tuning. All things considered, this isn’t much maintenance for an instrument that has been providing service for 105 years. The hardest part of our job was getting the bellows out. We’ll get everything back in place in a week or two, and they can get back to playing it for the next century. The congregation plans to celebrate with a concert! We’ll keep you posted on that date. Want to see more photos of this project? #NoJobIsTooSmall Visit us on Facebook!

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