The Moller organ was originally a "tubular pneumatic" organ, in which the pipes were controlled by air pressure through tubes that ran from the keydesk to the windchests under the pipes.  For many companies, including Moller, using this type of action was a transitional phase between mechanical (tracker) action, and modern electro-pneumatic action.  Although the organ at St. Joseph's was electrified many years ago, it still had its original windchests, now more than 100 years old.

 Pipe organs fear three things: fire, water, and incompetence.  These pipes are repairable, but the damage is sad.Pipe organs fear three things: fire, water, and incompetence. These pipes are repairable, but the damage is sad.

This project had long been the dream of Curtis Davies, organist of the church.  Although the organ continued to sound impressive in the church's live and warm acoustics, its escalating mechanical difficulties became increasingly frustrating, as dead notes and ciphers appeared at odd times.  In addition, amateur "repairs" to the organ, done some years ago, had damaged some of the pipes and left the instrument in general disarray.  Finally, last year, these problems reached a crisis point just before a major event, prompting us to make several emergency repair visits.

 

For nearly a decade, Mr. Davies had spearheaded a fund drive to begin raising money for a major project.  When it became obvious that something needed to be done, a committee was formed.  This committee solicited bids from us and from other firms.  As part of their "due-diligence," they contacted an electronic organ firm, and even had an electronic organ installed in the church for a few weeks on a trial basis.  This offered the interesting possibility of directly comparing sound of the 102-year-old malfuncitioning pipe organ with that of the shiny new electronic.  In the end, the authentic sound of pipes - together with the old organ's century-long record of dependability - won out.

 

Construction of the new 2-manual, 25-rank pipe organ begins in our shop in the early spring of 2014, with completion planned in the fall.

 

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