The two biggest concerns have been the condition of the organ console and control system, and a wish on the church's part to make the physical appearance of the organ's tone opening more attractive.

 

In the fall of 2014, First Friends hosted a large meeting of area Quakers, and undertook several beautification projects in anticpation of the event.  We were asked to present a proposal for a simple, tasteful arrangement of non-speaking organ pipes to be placed in front of the tone opening.  The design we submitted included 15 organ pipes from our inventory, which we refinished and arranged in a classic pattern.  Creating the necessary parts to install these pipes was a simple matter, using the CNC router system in our shop.  We finished up the installation the day before the big event!

 

The other, larger problem was the condition of the Wicks console.  This small console had suffered much wear and tear over the years.  Although we are always glad to rebuild organ consoles, the materials used in this particular cabinet - mainly low-quality plywood - convinced us that the console needed to be completely replaced.

 

As luck would have it, we were able to obtain an excellent M.P. Moller console from a similar-size organ that had been removed from a small church that had closed.  This console cabinet, made of solid black walnut, was a perfect fit for First Friends' organ.  Following approval of the contract by the congregation, we began completely rebuilding this fine console.  The Moller ivory keyboards are being thoroughly reconditioned.  A new stoprail with all new controls is being built.  The pedalboard has been completely dismantled and rebuilt, and even the bench is getting new finish.  Cory Kline has worked for several weeks in the shop getting the cabinet ready for its new fittings.

 

The new "brain" of this organ is a custom-designed Peterson ICS4000 integrated control system.  We find that this system, which we use in our largest projects, is also perfect for the smallest organs because of its flexibilty and programmability.  Also, in smaller churches, we have found that the record/playback system can be used to pinch-hit when an organist is unavailable. 

 

Along with the ICS system, several other improvements are part of this project.  The rather limited stoplist will be extended using a digital voice extension system, which will be used to add a number of quiet, colorful stops to the organ.  We will also rebuild the organ's reservoirs, and replace the actions that play the tubular chimes.

 

We are delighted to be able to play our part in preserving this instrument for a congregation that clearly appreciates great music!

 

 

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