Central Christian Church, Indianapolis

 

Releathering a Moller Organ

Releathering the MollerReleathering the MollerA releathering project in an organ is really nothing to fear!  Yet churches are often frightened into scrapping a fine instrument (usually by someone who wants to sell them something) with tales of horror about the fact that electropneumatic organs need to be "releathered" periodically.

After 57 years and repeated moisture damage from a problem with the roof, the leather valves in the M.P. Moller pipe organ at historic Central Christian Church in downtown Indianapolis needed to be replaced.  Usually, releathering costs between 15% and 20% of the cost of a similarly-sized new pipe organ.  This process renews the organ's windchests.

We began work on the organ two days after Christmas in 2011..

As of this writing (February), the pouchboards, primaries, and other parts are in our shop.  New leather, specially treated to prolong its life, is being applied to these parts, which will be reinstalled in the organ over the next several weeks.  If everything continues to go smoothly, we hope to have the organ playable for Easter.  Along with the releathering work, we are also replacing the relays in the organ, and installing a new blower in the basement.

In a later phase, we will upgrade the organ's console system to state-of-the-art solid-state equipment that will make the organ more flexible, and give Central's music program musical possibilities undreamed-of when the organ was built in 1954. A pipe organ is a forever thing!

 

Update:  We have completed releathering this fine instrument, and look forward to the next phase of its renovation.  This video shows the process, to the sound of Martin Ellis and Randall Frieling playing Les Torreadors, from Carmen, by Bizet.  Martin is playing the 1968 Moller organ at Central Christian Church in Anderson, IN.

 

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