We are excited to introduce you to our new Allen Organ!
11-13-2014: Our new organ is assembled and ready for installation! For pictures of this beautiful instrument, go to the “Organ of the Week” archive page on Allen Organ’s website. Installation will begin in the very near future!
Why a new organ?
During routine maintenance during the fall of 2013, our organ company advised us that our console would need to be replaced. He suggested that the best way forward was to consider a “Digital Hybrid (combination) Classic Organ” as a replacement. What this means is that our fine Moller pipe organ is retained, but new voices are added.
Our pipe organ was replaced in 1979, and the console was rebuilt in 1999. Sadly, the electronic components are no longer available for replacement. As a point of comparison, one local Presbyterian Church recently replaced their entire pipe organ, adding three digital stops, at the cost of $980,000! Rest assured, we are NOT doing that!
Through a generous gift from the Marion Johnston Kehrl estate, the funds became available to move forward with this project. A special thanks is due to Sue Scott, who took time off her regular work to explore and play organs in Sterling Heights, Birmingham, Farmington Hills and Lafayette, Indiana. She was supported by the Worship Committee, Congregational members who listened to one organ in a church setting, Jerry Smith, and Jim Skimins. She reported that four organs from two companies were suitable for our Sanctuary.
After reviewing the quotations, which ranged from $126,000 to $183,000, the Worship Committee recommended to Session the purchase of a custom-built Allen Quantum Organ as the best fit for our Sanctuary. The cost is $146,000. The Session approved the purchase on Monday, April 28th.
Allen Organ is the largest church organ company in the world. It is still family-owned and is based near Allentown, Pennsylvania. Incidentally, the largest Presbyterian Church in the country also has a large Allen Organ for their traditional worship. Our fine new instrument will not only use our current pipe organ, but is flexible enough to offer additional sounds that will support any worship style for at least the next 30 years. The local company who will support our purchase and installation of the new organ console is Evola Music, which is also family-owned and has been in the Plymouth area for 82 years. Additionally, our current pipe organ company will still maintain that part of the organ.
The new organ, which is a custom instrument, will take some months to build and three weeks to install. The projected timeline for the install is early 2015. Once it is fully operational, Evola will invite a featured artist to put on a recital to demonstrate the instrument’s full capabilities.
A special thanks to all who have been involved in this project, and an equally special thanks goes to the family of Marian Kehrl who supported this project.
It has been some time since we updated you on the Organ Console replacement. We have been advised that it will be entering the production phase in the last two weeks of August through the first two weeks of September before going to the woodworking shop for finishing. We are still on track for installation sometime after Christmas.
Here’s the latest information on the Allen Organ build. Sue Scott recently went to Allentown, Pennsylvania to view the construction of our new organ, and she brought back the following pictures:
Here are pictures of the front and the back of our new organ. In these photos, it has just come out of the sanding area, where every piece is sanded BY HAND!
This is a view of the board where the draw knobs will be placed. To get a better idea of how this will look, see the pictures of the finished organ (above). If you look on either side of the keyboard, you will see the white knobs. This is the piece that goes behind the knobs.