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The Reuter Pipe Organ

shirley-with-organ By Shirley Latham, Former FPC Organist, 2001

Every organist dreams of the day when someone will say, I'd like to buy a pipe organ for our church. My dream came true in November, 1999 when Don and Bara Colegrove told me of their desire to give a pipe organ to First Presbyterian, Richardson. The Colegroves wanted to use money that they had inherited to give the organ in honor of their parents. After hearing of the gift, the Session quickly appointed an organ Selection Committee and they began work reading, learning and listening. During the spring of 2000, Stan and Ginny Holcomb and Sanford Mitchell came forward with gifts that would make additional ranks possible on the organ.

During July of 2000, the Organ Selection Committee made the unanimous decision to sign a contract with The Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas and Church Organ Associates of Dallas (Allen Organ Company). Given the space limitation, the inclusion of digital voices was deemed appropriate to increase the flexibility of the instrument as well as meeting the musical needs of our diverse-music program. All of the donors were in complete support of these decisions. Sadly, Don Colegrove died on July 29, 2000 from A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He was, however, able to see stop lists and drawings of the proposed organ before his death.

After the contract was signed for the organ, the Session appointed a committee to supervise necessary renovations on the Sanctuary. That committee came to the congregation in February asking for a campaign to raise the funds necessary to improve acoustics in the Sanctuary, enlarge the dais, add hardwood flooring to the dais, and replace worn carpet. The congregation approved such a campaign and provided immediate evidence of their support by pledging $210,000 toward the project within three weeks.

On May 13, 2001, the truck from The Reuter Organ Company arrived in the church's parking lot during the 11 a.m. service and was greeted by the Organ Committee which then staged, during the final hymn, a Procession of the Pipes down the Sanctuary's middle aisle. Members of the congregation were invited to stay after worship and help unload the truck, and stay they did (even the children) carrying in pipes, wind chests, and all the other parts necessary to make the organ a reality. Roger Banks, Mark Langdon, and J. R. Neutel did the work of installing, tuning, and voicing the instrument.

What an exciting and joyous adventure this entire process has been! Through it all, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church has shown its love and support through prayer, the sharing of excitement, and willingness to help in many ways. They have agreed to serve on committees, help unpack pipes, clean the Sanctuary, and handle many other necessary chores. This organ will serve to enhance the worship of our Lord for generations to come. How grateful we are for the privilege of having such a glorious instrument. How grateful I am to be in this place at this time.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Shirley Grubbs Latham

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Last Published: February 24, 2020 8:41 PM