Van Buren United Methodist Church, Van Buren, IN
Van Buren United Methodist Church's small, 5 rank "garden variety" M.P.Moller organ
was installed at this 19th century church in 1929. Many hundreds of similar instruments
were built during the '20s and '30s for churches all over the country. Of special
interest is the voicer's handwritten notation on Middle C of the Gambe dating completion
of his work on October 29, 1929...The day of the infamous stock market crash!
Scope of the Rebuild Project
This electropneumatic organ had served its congregation well for nearly 60 years, without
having ever been rebuilt, when members began considering a renovation in 1987. After
raising funds over the next five years, the 80 member church engaged the firm Reynolds
Associates Organ Services, Inc. of Marion, IN to renew and improve the instrument. The
seven week long rebuild project included:
Replacing an original Diapason with a new Principal and the Stopped Diapason with a Gedeckt;
Revoicing all remaining pipework.;
Installing a new three- rank Mixture;
Upgrading the control system to Peterson OrgaPlextm switching and Duo-Settm combination action as part of a complete console renovation;
Recovering the reservoirs;
Replacing the original, leather note actions with Peterson electromechanical actions;
Adding new chimes to the organ (in 1996).
This successful project at a small-town church near Fort Wayne, Indiana is a good example
of how a small instrument can be rebuilt on a limited budget to have a distinguished sound,
avoiding the compromise of a digital or hybrid instrument.
In a newspaper article soon after the organ project was completed, Van Buren UMC's organist
Pat Stanley is quoted as saying "I've heard people say that they come to the church for
the music. The music livens up the atmosphere and adds the feeling of grandeur...The feel
and sound of a pipe organ spoils you from the standpoint of not wanting to play on an
electronic organ." Commenting on the resources of the complete organ, Ms. Stanley said,
"There are a lot more sounds that have been added, and the sounds are more vibrant. The
instrument has a lot more flexibility and potential."
After the project was completed in the Spring of 1991, a rededication ceremony was held
featuring a performance by Dr. John G. Maher of Indiana Wesleyan University.
Reynolds Associates Organ Services, Inc. is a family business offering a full line of pipe
organ services throughout central and northern Indiana. Organbuilders Thad and David
Reynolds may be reached by telephone or fax at (765) 662-3108, or by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Organists Pat Stanley or
Jackie Duggan can be contacted through Van Buren United Methodist Church at (765) 934-2031.
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