eNotes — October 2015

Tubing in Daykin!

Totally tubular in Daykin

We spent some time in Daykin, Nebraska this summer. We started with a project at Immanuel Lutheran, and continued with St. John’s Lutheran. St. John’s has a tubular-pneumatic Estey pipe organ from the early Twentieth Century. There weren’t many of them built after the 1920s, and these instruments are pretty rare. We spruced up the pneumatics in the console. These pneumatics were originally sealed with zephyr (thin, tanned animal intestines), which dried and cracked over time. We replaced the zephyr with thin leather, planed to .005 inches thick. We did most of this work in our shop. Some replacement parts were not commercially available, so we manufactured many by hand. See more photos on Facebook

You can see in the photo below, these tubular-pneumatic actions have a maze of tubes for moving air. At the time, Sir John Stainer called them a “triumph of mechanical skill.” But they had their limitations. W. T. Best called it “a complete failure; you cannot play a triplet on the Trumpet, and I consider it the most damnnable invention ever placed inside an organ.” Each tube is a potential air leak, so these projects involve meticulous work. But it is an investment in the future. In the words of our own Ryan, “I think it’s great when congregations decide to preserve their instruments and keep them original whenever possible. This piece of musical heritage is now preserved for future generations.”

St. John’s Lutheran is having a dedication service for their Estey pipe organ on Sunday, November 15, at 9 a.m. Willa Foster Jones is the guest organist.

It’s time for seasonal tuning

Cone tuning by BedientAdvent and Christmas are fast approaching. This is the time to schedule your fall tuning and maintenance. Our calendar can fill up quickly, so contact us now and we’ll get you scheduled before the holidays rush by.

As temperatures in the worship space change, so will the pitch of the pipe organ. Adjusting your sanctuary temperature gradually over a number of hours before worship will help keep the instrument sounding beautiful throughout the season.

Schedule maintenance

eNotes — September 2015

Nice New Shoes!

Last month we replaced the swell shoes (expression pedals) on the 110-rank Schoenstein organ at First-Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. We are the curators for this instrument, providing consistent tuning visits and availability for anything else that needs attention. This pipe organ is nearly 20 years old and gets quite a workout with regular worship services and a full calendar of performance events. Recently the expression pedals stopped responding properly. The rotary switches were wearing out so we replaced them with new sliding potentiometers. This change also required new solid brass treads on all of the shoes — three on the Gallery console and five on the Chancel console.

Repairs like this are an investment in a great instrument. We were happy to help out. And Jeremy, the Associate Minister of Music, was so excited to try them he didn’t even change out of his loafers! Jeremy takes the new swell shoes for a spin

Making the Crooked Straight at Grace

46 years of gravity pulled these pipes out of shape.


The same pipes, straightened!


TThe pipe organ in the sanctuary at Grace Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska was built by another builder in 1969. Over the past 46 years, gravity has pulled on its pipes, and many of the reed resonators have bowed. This month, we’ve been reversing that damage.

First, we removed all of the exposed pipes, vacuumed the wind chests, and washed the pipes. Then we straightened the pipes that needed the extra attention. To keep them from bending again, we added some additional racking closer to the wind chests. New birch saddles will give extra support and prevent the pipes from sagging again. Now this organ is ready for several more generations of service!

Daykin’s Hymn Festival

We finally had to remove the front of the instrument Earlier this spring, we did some work on the pipe organ at Immanuel Lutheran Church in rural Daykin, NE. This weekend, they’re having a Hymn Festival!
Sunday, September 13th, at 3 p.m.

Guest organist, Paul Soulek of St. John Lutheran in Seward, along with student musicians from Concordia University in Seward will lead the singing. A free will donation will benefit organ and church music students at Concordia. Immanuel is five miles east of Daykin, at 72430 567th Ave, Daykin, NE 68338. Everyone is welcome! What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Call Mary at (402) 446-7398 for further details.

Saint Paul’s Dedication

2014-12-05 12.19.05The Wesley Trompette 8 and Spielflute 4 are in place. We are now in the process of fully regulating and tuning all of the pipes in the organ. Bedient Opus 70 has finally been completed according to the original specifications! It’s time for Saint Paul United Methodist to celebrate!

The organ re-dedication is the last Sunday of this month during the regular worship services:
Sunday, September 27, at 9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

Dick Morris, Saint Paul’s organist, is putting together some great music to show off the new stops. All are welcome to attend these services! Saint Paul UMC also hosts concerts on the first Friday of each month at noon, occasionally featuring the organ. Saint Paul United Methodist, 1144 M St, Lincoln, NE 68508.

eNotes — August 2015

Sound the Trumpets!

Installing Wesley Trompette at Saint Paul Methodist

Guy and Ryan installing the Wesley Trompette pipes at Saint Paul Methodist Church, Lincoln, Nebraska

Our Opus 70 has two new stops, a Spielflute 4 and a Wesley Trompette 8. We finished this pipe organ in 2003 at Saint Paul United Methodist Church, in Lincoln, Nebraska, and it is a popular recital instrument. In addition to new pipes and windchests, we added another blower and wind reservoir to supply the Wesley Trompette. The blower is nestled on top of the Swell in a muffler box, to keep it whisper quiet. We wired everything into the existing system, put the pipes on the windchests, but that collection of pipes still needed to sound like a single instrument. That’s where regulating comes in. Mark and Ryan are taking several days to regulate and tune the instrument. Regulation involves adjusting every pipe, making each sound its best, and blending their sounds together into a beautiful whole. It’s almost like having a new pipe organ, and Dick Morris, Saint Paul’s organist, is planning to play some Wesley tunes to celebrate.




We have some more great photos on Facebook.


Hymn Festival in Daykin

Initials carved in the pipe chamber of Immanuel Lutheran in Daykin, NE

Living history inside the pipe chamber

Earlier this spring we worked on a 1910 Kilgen at Immanuel Lutheran in Daykin. We releathered the bellows and spruced up the key action. We worked with some great people at the church, and learned some wonderful history. The men who pumped the bellows carved their initials on a post in the pipe chamber (photo). The instrument arrived by rail over a hundred years ago, and the church used the original packing crates to build part of the pipe chamber!

Ryan assessing the situation

Ryan getting ready to remove the bellows

The church will have a Hymn Festival in a few weeks:
Sunday, September 13th, at 3 p.m.

Guest organist, Paul Soulek of St. John Lutheran in Seward, and student musicians from Concordia University in Seward will lead the singing. A free will donation will benefit organ and church music students at Concordia. The church is five miles east of Daykin, at 72430 567th Ave, Daykin, NE 68338. The general public is welcome! What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Call Mary at (402) 446-7398 for further details.



We even more great photos on Facebook.


eNotes — June 2015

A Bedient Transformation

Paul Lytle and Mark MillerWe are pleased to announce a transformation of Bedient Pipe Organ Company. Paul Lytle and Mark Miller have been heading the Lincoln Organ Company, d.b.a. Bedient Pipe Organ Company, since Gene Bedient announced his retirement over five years ago. With the transition complete as of June 1, 2015, Paul and Mark have moved forward with a new company. We are now officially Bedient Pipe Organ Company of Lincoln, Nebraska, L.L.C.. We will remain in our current facility at 1060 Saltillo Road, just south of Lincoln, Nebraska, until we relocate at a future time to a new location that is better suited to our changing needs.

A few new members will be added to our LLC. We are pleased to include Ryan Luckey, project manager; Jasmine Beach, financial administrator; and Bob Lundholm, attorney. Ryan, Jasmine, and Bob all bring a wealth of knowledge, and it is great to have them as part of our ownership team.

It is our pleasure and privilege to continue serving the many clients who call Bedient for their pipe organ service, rebuilding, and new instrument needs. We are the same folks you have counted on for years! On behalf of our dedicated staff, we look forward to serving all of our current and new customer relationships now and into the future.

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!

eNotes — January 2015

Share Your Opus 8 Stories

By the end of next month, Opus 8 will be in its new home at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Many hands have played this beautiful pipe organ. Heather Hernandez sent in some great photos of the two degree recitals. She played our Opus 8 for her Master’s recital in March of 1998 and her DMA in April of 2004.

Did you play Opus 8? Do you have any stories or photos to share? We’d love to hear them! You can send us a message via our website, Facebook, or Twitter.

A Real Life Organs 4 Organs Story

Richard Hoogterp with Opus 66

Last January, Bedient Pipe Organ Company became the first corporate partner of the Nebraska Organ Recovery System. The idea came as a joke about pipe organ transplants, and we decided it would be great community outreach. In May, we heard that an organist at one of our churches (Holy Family in Sparta, MI) received a liver transplant. He agreed to share his story with you.

I am Richard Hoogterp, and live with my wife, Eileen, in Norton Shores, Michigan. We both work in church music, and I happen to be privileged to work for a church which houses a splendid pipe organ constructed by the Bedient Pipe Organ Company in Nebraska.

In November of 2005, I became sick and was diagnosed with what was described as “cryptogenic” (no discernible cause) cirrhosis of the liver. I was informed that my condition was only curable by liver transplant. I was blessed from the very beginning by the presence and efforts of my wife, Eileen, whose insight, intuition and attention to details of diet, life-style and medicinal regimen were ever-present. Also, our family doctor, our local gastroenterologist, and the doctor and staff who guided us along at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor were outstanding in every way.

I did well for over seven years, but my condition worsened in the summer of 2013. On the evening of April 23, 2014, we were called to the hospital, arrived at midnight, and the transplant surgery was essentially completed by 7:00 A.M. the next morning. My recovery in the hospital and at home was not always easy, but I was fortunate to avoid most of the serious complications which may ensue after transplantation. I was able to resume my work after seven weeks and am now able to live very normally for a person of my age, which is 66. I can ride my bike, rake leaves, and shovel snow (a particular advantage for those who live near Lake Michigan). I generally feel very well.

It is humbling to realize that I am alive and well only through the goodness of a person, or his or her family, who thought to allow me to receive a healthy liver, and continue my life. I understand that there are many more persons in need of liver transplants than viable organs that become available. It would be a tremendous gift for larger numbers of people to arrange in advance to allow organ transplant, in the event that such an event would some day be a possibility.

Holly Sings Debussy

Le Martyre de St Sebastien by Claude Debussy at  the Cathedral of Our Lady of the AngelsWe have a talented group of musicians on our staff. You already know John Friesen is a fine organist, but our marketing director, Holly Heffelbower, will be a contralto soloist this Sunday night in Los Angeles.

The work is Le Martyre de St Sebastien by Claude Debussy. This masterpiece is rarely performed. Sunday’s concert centers around the artwork of Simon Toparovsky. Many of the singers in Sunday’s performance sang Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis last weekend with Michael Tilson Thomas. Kurt Knecht and Jeff Marinucci are the two organists, and Holly is a soloist. Conducted by Jon Gathje, the piece was choreographed by Grete Gryzwana. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you should come. It’s 7:30 pm at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This work was privately funded, is free and open to the public.

eNotes — December 2014

Opus 8: A New Life Awaits!

Bedient Pipe Organ Company's Opus 8The photo on the right might look very familiar to many of you. Opus 8, the Wesley House (or Cornerstone) organ is getting ready for its new home at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

We are changing some things before the new St. Thomas Aquinas is ready. First, we replaced the original wood key coverings with bone. Years of worship services, recitals, and rehearsals wore down the original keys. The wood gave the pipe organ charm, but we are confident the bone will be more durable. It will be many years before the prime hymn range of the keyboard sees wear. We are also in the process of constructing pedal towers. These towers will stand ready for an expanded pedal division.

The church itself is still under construction. If all runs according to schedule, we should have Opus 8 in its new home by the end of February, 2015. Send us a message and share your stories about Opus 8. Were you the organist for Wesley House or Cornerstone? Did you give a recital on this instrument? Did you learn Baroque performance technique on this pipe organ? Send us pictures too!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for photos of this project.

You’re a Dry One, Mr. Grinch

Dry air makes trackers brittleSome parts of the world have had ample snow, while others have been in drought. If you create a spark everytime you touch something, chances are the air around the pipe organ is a little dry. Even a drug store humidifier can add some much-needed moisture.

To assure you’re adding moisture to the air around the instrument, place the humidifier at least 3 feet away from the pipe organ. Let the humidifier run for a few days before your next worship service (keep it filled with water). This will help keep your instrument from rebelling halfway through your prelude.

Dry air can cause sticky keys on tracker organs and ciphers on all types of pipe organs. Add a little humidity to keep your holiday peaceful and bright! Call us if you need us!

eNotes — November 2014

Dedication: December 7, 2014  2 p.m.

Bedient Pipe Organ Company's John FriesenWe have transformed the 1926 Kilgen pipe organ (electro-pneumatic action) at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Omaha, Nebraska. This organ is dedicated in memory of Ill. Brother George Rice, 33° who donated countless hours maintaining and playing it over the years. We took over where he left off.

The console has been completely rewired and we have also installed state-of-the-art electronics within the pipe chamber. It took us months to remove, clean, repair, and reinstall the pipes. We also replaced the leather on each stopper and pouch. The Kilgen is now a true joy to play.



George Rice Jan 21 2013 Officers Installation organGeorge Rice cared deeply for this instrument, until his death last year. His commitment to the pipe organ will be honored Sunday, December 7 at 2:00 p.m. Our own John Friesen is the featured organist. The concert is free and open to the public. Please join in the celebration! For more photos of this project, visit our Facebook page. To hear John Friesen play, visit our YouTube Channel.

eNotes — October 2014

St. Patrick Builds a New Neighborhood Church

Last month, we talked briefly about St. Patrick Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. They have taken on quite a project and are using their collective skills and creativity to build a beautiful and accessible church. The members of the congregation have banded together to replace their original building with a combination of the modern and historical. Many have taken on the task of building pews. Even Bishop Conely donated oak trees for the project. As a fundraiser, congregants have the option of adopting a pew. Those adopting will donate space in addition to funds, storing the unassembled pew in their homes until they are ready to install in the Sanctuary.

The church has also rescued several items from other congregations. Their pipe organ was rescued from a church in Iowa. They have also rescued a set of Stations of the Cross windows and a bell. The bell was cast the same year this congregation was founded. The members of St. Patrick’s have also reclaimed some of their own pre-Vatican II items. The blend of old and new promises to be a loving dedication to the families that have, are, and will worship together.

Time to Tune?

TuningNobody really wants to admit it, but it’s time to prepare for Advent and Christmas. A month before the holidays commence is the best time to schedule pipe organ tuning and maintenance.

Give us a call at 402-420-7662 or send us a message through our service page. Heck! You can even tweet us or send us a message on Facebook. Unfortunately, we no longer accept carrier pigeons.

Aside from tuning, there are ways to prepare your worship space for the holidays. These few, simple adjustments can help prevent problems as temperatures change from crisp to cold:

  • Winter tends to be dry. Run a humidifier in the worship space during the colder months to reduce the chances of cracks in the wood, and ciphers.
  • Temperature affects pitch. Always warm the sanctuary to prepare for tuning, and well in advance of worship services.
  • Leave the Swell open. This helps regulate the temperature in that division.
  • Keep small objects in check on the console. A wayward paperclip can require costly repairs.

eNotes — September 2014

On the Move

Last month our crew took a quick trip to Muscatine, Iowa. It’s nice this time of year, but we didn’t go for the Muscatine Island Produce Market. We packed up a pipe organ that will have a new home at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. We love to do this type of work, and we do it well. It’s not an easy job to dismantle, pack, and load a tracker organ, getting every little piece safely to its destination. We did it, and even finished the project ahead of schedule. Once Clark Architects Collaborative in Lincoln, Nebraska gets the building done, the next phase of the “transplant” can take place. We’re happy to see another existing instrument find a new home. It’s satisfying to play a role in the process.

It Takes a Village

Working on an electro-pneumatic wind chestYou have a big project and you need to fund it. Before you start clicking around on Kickstarter, look over some of these tips from APOBA (The Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America). Start by gathering the dedicated group of people who will get others excited about your campaign. This Organ Fundraising Committee needs a strong leader or Chairperson who knows something about the instrument and potential donors. The Chairperson leads by example, often giving the first gift of the campaign.

The committee members should represent the community. They should be young, old, male, female, single, married, musician, business professional. You might guess it’s best to put the organist in charge of the committee, but sometimes that makes people think the organist has an agenda. Ironically, that can interfere with fund raising. Committee members need work well together. They are going to shape the campaign. Some churches hire companies to raise money, others do it on their own. Each congregation also needs to assess how much money they need to complete the project, what role the clergy will play in fundraising, and determine a timeline.

Many congregations solicit funds outside of the church. For example, First United Methodist in Salt Lake City developed a media campaign to draw attention to the historic significance of their 1906 Kilgen. They are closing in on their $100,000.00 dollar goal, having raised nearly $88,000.00 since December. The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew in Willmington, Delaware has focused on their homeless ministries. Consider what your project offers the larger community. Let that larger community know. Always thank them for their support.