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Update on Pipe Organ Repairs

As you might recall, a few years back we had ongoing problems with a leaky roof in the sanctuary that caused some significant water damage to our pipe organ. Several wind chests (the wooden boxes of various shapes and sizes) where the metal pipes actually sit, were covered with water. Inside these boxes are several small moving parts, many of which are made out of leather. The water found its way inside these boxes which soaked the leather. The thinking at that time was to let these boxes fully dry out and see what happens.

It didn’t take long to see that the damage was more serious than we thought. The pipes themselves had had water languishing inside them as well, which is not good. In consultation with a local organ tuner and repairer, we tried a few different repair measures that worked to some degree. But as you might suspect, pipe organs are simply not supposed to get wet! Our short term attempts at fixing the water damage issues were not the solution we require.

So, to rectify the problems with the organ once and for all, we contacted the manufacturer, Reuter Pipe Organs, in Lawrence, Kansas to come have a look and provide us an assessment. Their chief technician was here two weeks ago and he did a thorough evaluation of the entire organ. The water damage caused even more problems then we were aware of. The technicians quote for the repair and refurbishing was around $32,000, which is not insignificant. I conferred with Pastor Schaefers and the session about how we might proceed. Fortunately, we have the Bara Colegrove memorial organ fund which will provide a good portion of the funding necessary. The session has approved the remaining expenditures and will soon identify other sources of funding in our overall budget that will take care of the entire refurbishing.

As soon as our contract with Reuter Pipe Organs is signed, we can expect work to begin as early as May or June. Much of the organ has to be dismantled and removed and transported back to Reuter…no small feat! Some of the repair work will take place here, but the pipe work in particular, has to be done at the Reuter facilities in Lawrence. The project should take around six weeks. Once completed, our organ will be as good as the day it was first installed over 20 years ago. Having the organ in tip top shape again will eliminate the pricey ongoing cost we have endured these past years in trying to keep the organ in decent playing condition.

I’m planning a series of re-dedication recitals this fall to again celebrate our magnificent instrument. It’s one of the crown jewels of FPC and deserves to be treasured for many decades to come!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Ralph Stannard, FPC Music Director

Last Published: March 4, 2021 10:57 PM