How Do We Get Our Organ Rebuilt?
To rebuild an existing pipe organ or to purchase a new pipe organ,
follow these steps:
1. Enlist Expert Advice
In recent decades, the number of qualified pipe organ builders in North America has increased significantly. There are also many reputable organ consultants who make it their business to advise congregations with aging pipe organs on how to best preserve the value of their instrument. Most organ builders and consultants are accomplished organists themselves and many have advanced degrees in music.
It is important to pick guides through the decision making process who are also up-to-date on features now available on classic pipe organs due to innovations of modern technology. For example, relatively inexpensive features now facilitate automatic transposing, a simple way to help music and choir directors tremendously.
2. Assess The Value Of Your Current Instrument
Making a detailed evaluation of the value of your current pipe organ
is usually the first step to determining whether and how it can be
successfully rebuilt. (See
What Is The Value Of Our Church's Existing Pipe Organ?)
Most congregations avail themselves of several assessments to better
guide them in their investment decisions. A minimum of three
consultations is recommended.
In most older pipe organs, replacement of the instrument's switching,
combination action, "swell motor", and other control mechanisms are
usually necessary to make it fully operational and well equipped with
the flexibility today's organists expect. Pipe organ control systems
with capabilities to meet virtually any need are available to organ
builders. The most popular systems are custom configured for a
particular organ using standard electronic modules proven in thousands
of organs. (See
What Features Can be Offered on Pipe Organs Today.)
To locate qualified organ builders who service your area click here
Directory Of Organ Builders.
You can also obtain membership lists by contacting the professional
associations of pipe organ builders: Associated Pipe Organ Builders of
America (APOBA) at 800/ 473-5270 and The American Institute of
Organbuilders (AIO) at 713/ 529-2212.
3. Set Up An Organ Committee
As a practical matter, most churches create a pipe organ committee to
oversee detailed plans for the rebuilding project and to direct fund
raising efforts. Although the project may be relatively large in
scope for your church, it is nonetheless advisable to keep your organ
committee small, including about five or six persons. A group this
size will find it practical to take several trips to other churches
with organs and especially recently rebuilt organs. Of course, these
individuals should be identified by members of the larger congregation
as capable and trustworthy. It is usually best to include at least
one representative of those who are already against rebuilding the
organ, so that they will have direct access to the facts about costs
and expected benefits of such a project. Whenever possible, try to
include individuals who are personally able to make substantial
donations to a future fund for rebuilding the organ, so that they can
personally set an example of giving for the entire congregation.
The first job of the organ committee is to educate itself. Besides
availing the church of opinions from several pipe organ builders
and/or consultants, it is good to contact other churches that have
recently gone through an organ rebuilding project. Although each
situation is unique, other churches can give you valuable tips about
how they evaluated various professional opinions on the best route to
take in rebuilding their organ. Other churches can also share stories
of the successful tactics they used to involve their entire
congregation, raise funds, etc. To locate churches in your area with
recently rebuilt organs, or to browse by denomination, type of organ,
or by organ builder, click here
Directory Of Rebuilt Organs.
5. Select An Organ Builder
The church organ committee should have primary responsibility for
hiring a qualified organ builder to do the job. Your committee
members should keep in mind that glitzy advertising materials are not
necessarily an indication of superior service. Makers of electronic
organs can often dazzle congregations with elaborate sales tools since
their generic products allow them a relatively larger sales margin to
devote to such devices. In contrast, pipe organ builders are
essentially craftsmen and as such spend more time perfecting their
craft than on developing elaborate sales brochures. Most committees
find that three proposals are a good number to manage. Always ask to
see a listing of each pipe organ builder's recent client churches and
interview as many as possible for references.
6. Involve The Congregation
Once a plan is locked in, it's time for the organ committee to
involve the rest of the congregation in the project. Often, the
steps of planning and implementing an organ rebuild can be spread out
over a few years if necessary. This makes fund raising more
manageable and gives congregants specific goals that they can work
toward. For example, specific donations can be allocated to
particular parts of the organ. Congregants are often eager to make
contributions of time and money to a rebuilding project where the
results of their efforts are clear and yet intertwined with the most
sublime moments of their worship experience. Church members can share
in the positive experience of achieving goals where the result is both
a thing of beauty and sacred --- both a concrete and spiritual
manifestation of what fellowship within the congregation is all about.
In this way a pipe organ rebuilding project can be very helpful in
deepening the bonds within the congregation.
Questions, Comments, Concerns
Back to Pipe Organs.Com