McPherson, KS

This organ by George Kilgen & Son has been a part of this congregation since it was installed in their “red-brick church” in 1938. A new sanctuary was built in 1970, along with a fellowship hall, classrooms, and offices. At first, there were no plans to move the organ into the new sanctuary. A last-minute decision saved the organ, but no space had been prepared for installing it. Temporary chambers were created behind the altar with hopes of enlarging them someday. The congregation voted to renovate and update the sanctuary in 2018.  The organ was a central part of those renovations.

The organ was essentially unaltered when it was moved in 1970 and its original voicing style had been retained. The chests and reservoirs were due for releathering and decades of dust had accumulated. The biggest problem was service access. It was nearly impossible to enter the chambers for tuning. Tonal egress was also limited because of very small expression shade openings. 

We worked with the local architect to design new organ chambers cantilevered out and above the back of the chancel. The larger chambers not only allow much better service access, but also make room for the addition of eight new voices. Our first priority was selecting ranks that would enhance the organ’s ability to lead worship and congregational singing. The second goal was ensuring that all the additions would be in the same tonal aesthetic as the original Kilgen stops. We did not want any stop to sound “added on.” A clear Fifteenth and rich, low-pitched Mixture in the Great lead congregational singing.  A dark chorus Tuba enhances the plenum and is extended to the pedal to provide a 16’ Tromba. A facade has been formed by the new Double Open Diapason, adding clarity to the abundant existing pedal stops. In the Swell, we added a Geigen Principal 4 to create a secondary principal chorus. The former Great Trumpet was moved to the Swell where it serves as both a solo and chorus reed. Vintage Vox Humana and Unda Maris ranks round out the additions. The new expression shades are nearly twice as large as the old shades and the organ speaks clearly into the room. A Virtuoso Control System provides many additional registration aids and unlimited memory levels.

Two weeks of tonal finishing brought out an incredible array of color from the individual stops. They now can be combined in numerous, creative ways for leading worship and playing a wide range of organ literature. This instrument is now ready to serve this congregation for another ninety years.

George Kilgen & Son, 1938

* Bedient addition, new rank
+ Bedient Addition, vintage rank


Open Diapason 8
Hohl Flute 8
Dulciana 8
Unda Maris 8 (TC)+
Octave 4
Flute d’Amour 4*
Fifteenth 2*
Mixture IV*
Tuba 8*


Lieblich Bourdon 16
Geigen Principal 8
Stopped Flute 8
Viola da Gamba 8
Voix Celeste 8
Octave 4*
Flute Harmonic 4
Piccolo 2
Trumpet 8 (former Great)
Oboe 8
Vox Humana 8+


Acoustic Bass 32
Double Diapason 16*
Major Bass 16
Bourdon 16
Lieblich Gedeckt 16
Octave 8 (ext)*
Flute 8
Still Gedeckt 8
Choral Bass 4 (ext)*
Trombone 16 (ext)*
Tromba 8 (Great)


Swell to Great 16
Swell to Great 8
Swell to Great 4
Great to Great 16
Great Unison Off
Great to Great 4
Swell to Swell 16
Swell Unison Off
Swell to Swell 4
Great to Pedal 8
Great to Pedal 4
Swell to Pedal 8
Swell to Pedal 4