Fairview United Methodist Church, Bloomington, IN

 

A New Voice for the Gospel!

 

For over seventy-five years, the pipe organ in the sanctuary of Fairview United Methodist Church in Bloomington, IN provided music for Sunday services, weddings, funerals, and other occasions. Built by Henry Pilcher’s Sons in 1925, the small organ had been maintained over the years and a few additions had been made to its tonal resources.

 

At the beginning of the new century, however, it was becoming increasingly clear that a major project was needed to insure the instrument’s future. The organ lacked a cohesive tonal architecture and was plagued by numerous age-related mechanical problems.

 

Reynolds Associates prepared a proposal for a new organ for Fairview that preserved much of the pipework from the old instrument, incorporating the fine Pilcher pipes into a new ensemble structure that seamlessly blends the sounds of the early twentieth century with those of the early twenty-first.

 

In planning this new organ, we carefully considered the church’s musical needs. Fairview boasts a diverse congregation, and that diversity is reflected in their music. Drawing on talented musicians from nearby Indiana University, the congregation is accustomed to a wide assortment of musical offerings including classical, gospel, contemporary, and even jazz.

 

It was a great challenge to provide an instrument of modest size that could support such a program!

 

By carefully reconditioning and reusing these experienced pipes, we were able to provide historical continuity with the old organ, and to preserve the church’s investment, made over the decades, in the instrument.   In this way, the new Fairview organ is a classic example of the economic sense of investing in a real pipe organ.

 

The new organ includes a classically-voiced Principal chorus, with variable pipe scaling to compliment both the sanctuary and the existing tonal elements. The windchests are constructed of solid hardwood, and utilize twenty-first century computerized manufacturing techniques that enhance the speech of each individual pipe.

 

Another element of the old organ that was retained was the console cabinet. A new console had been installed in about 1965. We were able to completely rebuild this console, installing new interior woodwork, manual keyboards, and stop controls.

 

The new organ is controlled by a Peterson ICS4000 integrated control system. This advanced system provides a multiple-level combination action, control relay, and MIDI interface system. We selected this system in part because its programmability allows for easy additions or revisions to the instrument’s specification. The MIDI interface also allows the church’s musicians to explore non-traditional organ styles, making the instrument more useful in these situations.

 

Dr. Charles WebbDr. Charles WebbFairview United Methodist Church is a vital and active congregation that is eager to make its new organ available to students at nearby Indiana University for practice and recital. The dedicatory recital on April 13, 2003, featured Dr. Charles Webb, Dean Emeritus of the Indiana University School of Music, Yoon-Mi Lim, an IU graduate student then serving as Fairview’s organist, and the Fairview Choir under the direction of Dr. Mellonee Burnim.

 

In his remarks, Dr. Webb praised Fairview Church for its foresight and its commitment to authenticity and quality.  

 

The authenticity and timeless majesty of real pipes combines with the most modern control equipment and up-to-date manufacturing techniques to make the new organ at Fairview a vital and authentic voice for the Gospel for generations to come.

 

 

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