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A CONCERT was held in Wargrave to celebrate the restoration of a church organ.More than 350 people attended the event at St Mary’s Church, which was held to thank people for their donations.A total of £70,000 was raised in nine months to restore the 94-year-old Walker pipe organ. The repairs were carried out by Suffolk pipe organ builder JW Walker, which made the instrument in 1917.Tony Elliott and Patsy Roynon organised the concert where Keith Dukes and Simon McMurtrie played the organ and talked about its history. An invitation choir of 40 people sang.Mrs Roynon, of Loddon Drive, Wargrave, said: "This was a huge thank-you to the 200 donors who contributed £70,000. There was £30,000 already in the music kitty, which was launched in June 2009."We asked for money from every side. We wrote personal letters to individuals, friends and well-wishers, including people who had past contact with the church. People responded so generously and we are delighted to have the organ back and up and running again."The concert was a wonderfully exciting evening."
Originally Published: 12/24/2011 1859 organ at Fleetwood church restored, to be played tonightRon Devlin As a young man, John E. Keller pumped the bellows on the old Bohler organ during services at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fleetwood.Keller died in May, but his spirit will permeate the church tonight when the sound of the 152-year-old instrument rings out during Christmas Eve services.Thanks in part to a donation from the Keller estate, the historic organ has been repaired and will be played at the 7:30 and 10:30 services."This is the oldest Bohler organ in the United States," said Ralph W. Hilborn Jr., a member of the church council. "It's listed on the National Historic Registry."When organist Donna Ahrens sits down at the keyboard, it will be the first time the instrument has been played since 2006.The Rev. Robert D. Machamer, pastor, said the public is invited to the service."An instrument like ours helps us give the community exposure to sacred music," he said. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime for people to hear a sound they've never heard before."Research by Hilborn and others indicated the organ was built in 1859 at the Reading Pipe Organ Manufactory at 824 Court St. It cost $800 new.Samuel Bohler is listed as the sole proprietor in the late 1850s, though earlier records indicate several brothers were involved in the business.The Bohlers, organ builders in Switzerland, emigrated to Schuylkill County about 1830. Jonathan and Margaretha Bohler, Samuel's parents, moved to Reading in 1840 and opened an organ factory in the 900 block of Bingaman Street."Bohler organs were well-built, durable instruments noted for their sweetness and volume of tone," said Hilborn, a retired FBI agent who teaches at Reading Area Community College.A church history indicates the organ was dedicated in the summer of 1859, when the church was known as St. Paul's Lutheran and Reformed.The newly completed East Penn Railroad ran excursions from Reading and Macungie for the ceremonies."Fleetwood was crowded with visitors and the church was unable to accommodate all the people," Hilborn said. "It was the greatest day Fleetwood had ever seen."When the Lutheran and UCC congregations went their separate ways in the mid-1950s, the organ was bought at auction by Wellington Strause, a Fleetwood businessman. Albright Strause, Wellington's son, returned it to the church in the 1980s.When John Keller died in May at age 91, his family decided to have the organ restored in his honor.Raymond J. Brunner of Lancaster County, an authority on antique organs, did the restoration at the church.Jon "Max" Keller of Richmond Township, John's son, said the family wanted to have the Bohler organ played at his father's funeral. When it was unable to be played, the family decided to donate money to a fund to restore the instrument."I think my father will appreciate the organ being played on Christmas Eve," Keller said. "I'm sure he'll be listening."Contact Ron Devlin: 610-371-5030 or email@example.com.
Somerset United Methodist Church caps pipe organ restoration Somerset —The pipe organ at the Somerset United Methodist Church is so big and so powerful for the building it sits in that it could shatter the windows of the church on Read Street if a certain key was held down for a certain amount of time. Organist Eileen Melanson Hennessey doesn’t plan to ever do that, but she does plan to show just how grand the old pipe organ is at a concert today at 2 p.m.Free and open to the public, the concert by Hennessey and two other organists is being offered to show the church’s appreciation to the numbers of donors who made the restoration of the 1917 model Moeller organ possible.For six months, beginning last June, the 474 pipes were laid across the pews on the right hand side of the church during the meticulous restoration that included removing old worn and cracked leather straps that made the organ sometimes play by itself or put forth sounds that the organist did not key.“It will be good for generations now,” said Pastor Ellie Reed of the $56,000 restoration that was completed last month by the White Organ Company of Randolph. “We’re very happy with the new sound. We’re going to show it off to the community,” said Reed.Sunday morning services last summer were a bit different while the pipe organ lay in pieces during the restoration. Hymns were instead played on banjo, guitar, mandolin and piano.Hennessey’s fingers glide over the ivory keys that are original to the pipe organ that was first built in the Brayton Methodist Church on Griffin Street in Fall River, also known as the “blue church” where Citizens for Citizens was later located.When the Brayton Methodist Church closed in 1970, the organ was moved to Somerset United Methodist, but Hennessey said some of the pipes had to be removed because the organ was just too big for the smaller church building.Electronics have been installed so there is no delay between the time the organist presses a key and a sound comes out of the pipes.“You’re playing and you don’t know if you’re hitting it right,” said Hennessey of the sound delay that can be as long as three minutes, as is the case with the pipe organ at St. Anne’s Church in Fall River, she said.The pipes are made of tin and some are made of wood. The largest is about 10 feet tall and eight inches wide. The smallest is about the size of a pencil and produces the higher pitched sounds.Nothing can compare to the sounds the pipe organ can produce, said Hennessey who has played on numbers of organs in her 47-year musical career including a one-game stint at Fenway Park in Boston and three years as the organist at roller skating competitions at the former Lincoln Park skating rink in Dartmouth. She’s also played at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and was formerly the chapel organist at the Newport Naval Base.“There’s no soul in electronic organs,” said Hennessey. “There’s no life. It’s like playing the radio or a CD,” she said. “The pipe organ is alive. It’s a living, breathing thing. You can feel the energy of the pipes. You can’t say that about an electronic organ.”Hennessey will be the last organist to play during Sunday’s concert that will end with “Climb Every Mountain,” by Richard Rodgers.Other featured organists Sunday are Bernadette Mello who retired in 2008 as organist and choir director at Somerset United Methodist; and Debra Carvalho, organist at Union United Methodist Church in Fall River.Mello will play “Trumpet Voluntary,” by Henry Purcell; “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” by J.S. Bach; “Panis Angelicus,” by Cesar Franck; and “1812 Overture,” by Peter Tschaikowsky.Carvalho will play “Cannon in D,” by Johann Pachelbel; “How Great Thou Art,” by Lucy Ann Warriner; and “Re Mineur,” Three short classical melodies; and “Near the Cross,” by Todd Kendall.Hennessey will begin with “The Sound of Music,” by Richard Rodgers, followed by “El Chocio ‘ The Kiss of Fire,” by A.G. Villoldo ; “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” by Johann Sebastian Bach; “Granada,” by Agustin Lara; and “Czardas,” by V. Monti.The church is located at 841 Read St., Somerset.Read more: http://www.heraldnews.com/newsnow/x735287658/Somerset-United-Methodist-Church-caps-pipe-organ-restoration#ixzz1ilkuEYPf
QuoteThe pipe organ at the Somerset United Methodist Church is so big and so powerful for the building it sits in that it could shatter the windows of the church on Read Street if a certain key was held down for a certain amount of time. The 1917 Moeller organ [has] 474 pipes. “You’re playing and you don’t know if you’re hitting it right,” said Hennessey of the sound delay that can be as long as three minutes, as is the case with the pipe organ at St. Anne’s Church in Fall River, she said.The pipes are made of tin and some are made of wood. The largest is about 10 feet tall and eight inches wide. The smallest is about the size of a pencil and produces the higher pitched sounds.
The pipe organ at the Somerset United Methodist Church is so big and so powerful for the building it sits in that it could shatter the windows of the church on Read Street if a certain key was held down for a certain amount of time. The 1917 Moeller organ [has] 474 pipes. “You’re playing and you don’t know if you’re hitting it right,” said Hennessey of the sound delay that can be as long as three minutes, as is the case with the pipe organ at St. Anne’s Church in Fall River, she said.The pipes are made of tin and some are made of wood. The largest is about 10 feet tall and eight inches wide. The smallest is about the size of a pencil and produces the higher pitched sounds.
Willis supplied Steinmeyer with reeds? That's a combination I REALLY want to hear - much as I love Willis organs, I'm sure you'd agree there's nothing better about them than the chorus reeds and Tubas. Steinmeyer, meanwhile, made what sound like some of the best flue choruses ever made...Incidentally, doesn't the west front at Trondheim look very English? Reminds me of Lichfield and Lincoln...I see also that Steinmeyer are still in business - and have been since 1647! That must surely make them the oldest surviving organ-building firm in the world... hopefully they'd be able to replicate the many tonalities lost from the vast Trondheim organ, restore those presently in the Quire organ... but how on earth, even in a non-English organ, are you supposed to make do with no Swell, just a big enclosed Positive? The complete removal of casework in that ancient building is also criminal... The following, regarding the organ's 'restoration', makes for very worrying reading:http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3DNidaros%2Bsteinmeyer%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dflock%26hs%3Duri%26channel%3Dfds%26prmd%3Dimvns&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=no&twu=1&u=http://kirkemusikk.net/steinmeyer/%3Fside%3Dorientering&usg=ALkJrhg2q_K_TM67G7mURO10Rx4y6EjDHwWhy, in the 1960s, did they not leave the Steinmeyer alone, acquire another instrument for the Quire and restore the old Wagner instrument somewhere else in the building? That would have covered all their needs - instead the Wagner remained languishing in storage until the 1990s, the Steinmeyer was wrecked and a cobbled-together Quire organ installed (I wonder how satisfactory it has been). You couldn't make it up, could you?
ShareThisIn 2008, Mike Wolf entered a vast labyrinth of pipes, bellows, blowers, chambers and electrical circuitry and now has emerged something of a hero.On Jan. 29, his three-and-a-half years of hard work rebuilding the historic pipe organ at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church in Merion Village will culminate in a rededication concert.“When you have an instrument as valuable as this, if you don’t maintain or repair it, you lose it all — the whole thing,” Wolf said.The concert begins at 3 p.m. at the church, 221 Hanford St. Following the blessing of the instrument, Paul Thornock will provide a program of music to showcase its capabilities.The work was quite an undertaking, said Wolf, who doesn’t even know how to play the organ. Of course, he had some help. For example, Gary Gurcich and the Roberts Electric Co. helped with the electrical aspects of the instrument while Andrew McGregor assisted in rewiring the inner organ.“It’s not something I did totally on my own,” Wolf said.First installed in the mid-1920s, the instrument was made by the Tellers-Trent Organ Co. in Erie, Pa. It is an echo, or celestial, organ, meaning it has additional pipes in a housing unit above the altar. Wolf refurbished those, too.The actual organ console was replaced during the process. All told, the project cost $140,000, not including labor. The instrument is valued at more than $500,000.The organ has a long history at the church, which was built in 1903 and dedicated in 1917. In March 1983, it saw its first rededication after a restoration project that lasted nearly a year.Wolf, 67, a retired sheet-metal worker, was named caretaker of the church building when it closed in 1999 and the congregation was consolidated with St. Mary’s Catholic Church on South Third Street. He has touched up murals on the ceiling, restored each church pew, replaced floors and replastered walls — whatever needed his attention.“There’s still a lot of work here to do,” he said.It’s a labor of love, said Wolf, who was baptized in the church in 1944 and spent most of his life in the Merion Village neighborhood.“It is my home,” he said.The St. Leo Preservation Society has been steadfast in preserving the building, which is mostly used for weddings and funerals.“We felt, from the beginning, that we owed it to our forefathers who put every effort and lots of their capital, faith and love of God into this church,” said Lori Mitchell, president of the preservation society. “We feel that it is very important to preserve what they built to hand down to us and to those who come after us.”
Famous Skinner organ gets a second life after restoration work at St. Michael's Church in Hamilton ParkPublished: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 3:00 AM Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 5:24 PMRev. Alexander Santora/For the Jersey Journal By Rev. Alexander Santora/For the Jersey JournalFor 32 years, Roxanne Clark has played the organ at St. Michael’s Church in Hamilton Park, Jersey City.Well, not all of it. The combination system did not work. There were dead notes. Ciphers, where notes mysteriously play by themselves, occurred constantly.Eric Fahner, the associate organist, described the experience of playing that organ like “trying to traverse a minefield.”But that is history, just as the organ is quite historical. Now all is well after a nearly $400,000, five-year complete rebuilding that was completed a few months ago.This Sunday, at 4 o’clock, there will be a special organ concert titled, “Praise Him With Organ,” featuring Harold Stover, a former Dean of the New York City American Guild of Organists.Bishop Thomas Donato, the Episcopal Vicar for Hudson County and a downtown Jersey City native, who graduated from the now closed St. Michael’s High School, will bless the organ.But the biggest blessing came from the late John Peragallo, Jr., of the legendary Peragallo Pipe Organ Company in Paterson. He convinced the Joseph Bradley Foundation in Bryn Mawr, PA., to underwrite the bulk of the cost of the project because of the organ’s historic nature.Ernest M. Skinner of the eponymous company built the organ in 1925, his 542nd. Skinner developed the pitman windchest, where the sound producing pipes are planted, and ultimately a complete organ that could be described as a “musical machine,” played by a single musician with the simplicity of a piano yet the sound could fill a cathedral.His organs may be found in St. John the Divine Cathedral and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan and the Appleton Chapel at Harvard. His “orchestrator” was the very first “computer” to use a binary switching logic.John Peragallo III, will present an organ meditation in memory of his father. But the key organist will be Stover, a graduate of The Juilliard School in New York, who is organist and Director of Music of Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland, ME.He also serves as director of the Portland-based chamber chorus Renaissance Voices and on the faculty of the Portland Conservatory of Music. He previously served as organist and choirmaster at Second Presbyterian Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and on the faculties of the New York School of Liturgical Music and the Alexander Robertson School.Sunday’s pieces include “Prelude in G Major BWV 568” by Johann Sebastian Bach and “Fantaisie in A” by Cesar Franck and “A Grand Instrumental Procession” by George Frideric Handel as well as works by Leo Sowerby and Eugene Gigout.Rev. Victor Kennedy, pastor of Resurrection, which also includes St. Bridget’s and St. Mary’s churches, is happy with the organ work, “history that’s there, the beauty of that organ.” And he thanks the Peragallo Company for doing some work, not covered by the grant, pro bono.The parish struggles financially. They were able to paint St. Michael’s a few years ago for about $275,000 using funds received from the sale of St. Peter’s Church to St. Peter’s Prep.St. Michael’s was founded in 1867 and marks its 145 anniversary this year. In the early to mid-20th century it was one of the downtown powerhouse parishes where John V. Kenny, the Democratic political boss, worshipped. Now two weekend Masses are offered in English on Saturday at 4 o’clock and Sunday at 10:30. The Vietnamese apostolate of the Archdiocese offers a Sunday morning 8:30 Mass in that language. And the Tuesday Novena to St. Jude, which for decades had been held at the now-closed St. Lucy’s, attracts scores of followers, who will now hear a perfect instrument.Fahner considers the Skinner organ like a Steinway today, “top of the line.” And now it sounds like one, as well.Santora is the pastor of The Church of Our Lady of Grace & St. Joseph, 400 Willow Ave., Hoboken, 07030, (201) 659-0369, fax (201) 659-5833, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Englewood church's restored pipe organ impresses at concertSunday, April 1, 2012 Last updated: Sunday April 1, 2012, 9:43 PMBY SCOTT FALLONSTAFF WRITERThe RecordENGLEWOOD — There was a moment when not a sound was heard at First Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon after the applause died down and Nathan Laube took his seat at the organ bench.It didn’t last long.A growing shriek would soon crescendo into a roar as the massive Moeller organ reverberated throughout the 142-year-old church with Laube at its helm.It was the inaugural concert of the newly rebuilt pipe organ, the biggest of its kind in Bergen County. And the $500,000, six-month restoration was enough to attract Laube, considered one of the world’s most promising young organists.“I booked him immediately when we started the restoration,” said David Macfarlane, himself an accomplished organist and the church’s music director.The 4,114-pipe instrument was installed by Moeller Pipe Organ in 1966, but some of its wooden box pipes date back to 1918 when the church’s first organ was built.Its leather valves were falling apart and its sound was deteriorating rapidly. The restoration, done by OrguesLétourneau of Quebec, was funded by the estate of the late Luella Schmidt, a churchgoer who bequeathed her entire life savings to the restoration of the organ.The organ was first played publicly by Macfarlane at a Christmas recital. Congregants say the difference was noticeable.“There’s a brilliance now,” said Marilyn Arons, a jazz pianist and member of the church choir. “There’s a shimmer that you didn’t have before.”Sunday’s free concert drew about 200 to the church, including Dorothy Henry who drove from the Bronx. Her advice: sit in the middle of the sanctuary for the best sound. Henry should know. She was the organist at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Bergenfield for eight years.“It just pours down on you,” Henry said of the restored organ.Laube is used to playing in churches, having given concerts from Washington’s National Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral in England.Englewood was the last stop on a one-month tour before he was due to return to Germany where he is studying music in a graduate program. He spent the past two days at First Presbyterian getting to know the organ.Laube was so surprised by its broad tones, that he changed the program and played a symphony by Franz Liszt transcribed for the organ. He would go on to Bach and ReubkeIt was Laube’s hands that created the music, but it was the 4,114 pipes that carried it.“It’s a wonderful organ and a wonderful building for an organ,” Henry said.Email: email@example.com
A rare 1808 pipe organ has been lovingly restored and rededicated in a north Norfolk village after a fund-raising appeal was launched to bring the instrument back to life.Based in the north aisle of St Botolph’s Church, Trunch, the historic organ, built by William Gray of London more than 200 years ago, had been rebuilt in 1957 by the Trunch organ builders Williamson and Hyatt.And now pipe organ builder and restorer Richard Bower, of Bower and Company, has spent the last three months bringing it back to its former splendour.Mr Bower, 64, started playing the instrument at the age of 15 and had admired the Georgian Trunch beauty describing it as a “very telling little thing to play.”“I had looked after it before we restored it and it was getting worse and worse,” he said.“I know how great it was and how great it could be so I’m pleased I had the opportunity to restore it as it is really gorgeous.”Mr Bower believed it is one of only three left in the country and said it had been originally brought from Birmingham. Over the last three months he had refitted the main soundboard, changed the wind systems and stripped, re-polished and cleaned each pipe one by one.After completion of the project Mr Bower was invited to perform for the rededication recital last night (Saturday) as part of the series of Trunch concerts, which helped fund-raise towards its restoration.Audiences were treated to a programme which included music from the period of the building of the organ by Stanley and Samuel Wesley, a selection of music playable on the organ as rebuilt in 1957 by Mozart and Bach, and finally twentieth century music including Yon and Young, topped with pieces from Sweelinck and Widor to illustrate the what the organ now offers.Co-organiser of the concerts Peter Mason said: “They are extremely dependant on the good will of the performers and the audience as well.“The concerts raise between £1000 and £1500 for restoration and sometimes people come from abroad and sometimes they come from the local area to perform for the concerts.“2008 was the bi-centenary of the organ so we decided to start an appeal to raise funds for it’s restoration, which cost £12,000.”The money was raised through On Organ Fund, The John Jarrold Trust, Leche Trust (for the case work), Babara Whatmore Charitable Trust and a large sum was privately donated.The pipe organ is one of the many projects included in St Botolph’s Church restoration project. Since 1998 the concerts have raised over £10,000 and all concert proceeds will continue to be donated to the project.
Bay Street Presbyterian Church, established in 1906, is well worth a visit. Its design is French/Romanesque, and the stained glass windows from Germany are works of art.Bay Street is the home of a rare world-class pipe organ designed by M.P. Moller Co. of Hagerstown, Md., in 1918, and installed in 1922.The organ was delivered in two box cars, and the installation was supervised by Mr. and Mrs. T.J. Williams of Algiers, La.The builder of the diapason ranks of the organ in Westminster Abbey, London, built those of the organ in Bay Street.David Stockstill of Picayune, longtime organist for Bay Street and a historian of note and friend, got us interested in this subject.The instrument was restored in 1997 under the supervision of Schoenstein of San Francisco.The restoration included the replacement of original tubing and wiring with a first of its kind, FM radio controls, 440 wiring and movability of the console.The dynamic range of this organ includes tones that are to be felt instead of heard.The original installation included conduits of silver and tin. Funds received from the salvage and sale of which were applied to the costs of the restoration.The congregations of Bay Street past and present are to be lauded for the existence and preservation of this historical marvel.There are few of this class remaining in the world today.The artisans that designed and built these organs are long gone, and there are precious few musicians who can call forth their great sonority.Albert Schweitzer said, "May these old organs stand until the end of the world when the Holy Angels will descend on the last day and use them to accompany the singing of the 'Gloria'!"