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Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pflugerville, Texas

Background

The church building of Immanuel Lutheran Church dates back to 1874. In 1929 it became home to a Reuter pipe organ. Back then, the organ included mostly flute sounds with Tibia and Dulciana stops but not much variation and no Trumpets or other reeds.

Why is the Organ Being Rebuilt?

Looking forward to celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 1999, the congregation was determined to preserve and improve the organ. Verna Mott, the church's organist since 1976, reports, "We wanted to keep the genuine sound of an authentic pipe organ for our congregation, generations of younger musicians, and for the community as a whole. We wanted to maintain tradition, but add modern technology."

Ms. Mott notes that nearby churches just have electronic instruments: "You can tell the difference. Since our congregation has grown, we needed more volume and sound. The improvements will enhance music in our worship service and allow more of our members to participate in singing. We wanted to get young musicians interested in pipe organs. We also wanted more variation for moods. We have been making do, but now we can make it better."

Scope of the Rebuild Project

The Geddes Pipe Organ Company has been working on the rehabbing program and expects the project to be completed by September 1, 1998. Work includes equipping the organ with state-of-the-art electric action controls, including Peterson microprocessor-based MIDI capabilities, adding seven ranks of pipes and revoicing nine other ranks of pipes.

Steps of the project include:

  • Removal of console, pipes, offset chests, and harp from organ chamber for work in Geddes' shop in Austin;

  • Revoice old pipes;

  • Renovation of organ chambers;

  • Rebuilding and refinishing of console and all offset chests and pipe supports;

  • Construction of new Great chest and refinishing of main chests left in organ chamber;

  • Installation and wiring of new solid state controls;

  • Delivery of new Great chest, pipes, newly rebuilt console, and new blower to church;

  • Test all components, tonally finish and tune organ.

Highlights

The rebuilt organ will be fully capable of the rich traditions of authentic pipe organ worship music as well as contemporary music, including switching to piano keyboard sounds.

Donations made by congregants are covering the cost of the rebuilding project. There is no need to apply for a grant or to take out a loan.

The church is preserving, enlarging, and enhancing this authentic pipe organ for a cost comparible with that of an electronic substitute.

Verna Mott may be contacted at Immanuel Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 951, Pflugerville, TX 78691; Tel: 512-251-2238; Fax: 512-990-1471.

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