This summer the Faith UMC pipe organ will undergo some major refurbishing, largely to correct a situation that has existed since the organ was installed in the mid 1980s. This concerns the electronic connections between the keys and the pipes, as well as the system which relays information from the console to the pipe room. At that time, the organ builders used an experimental technology for their electronic circuitry which they quickly abandoned when it was found to be ineffective, and for which they no longer make new parts. For years, whenever one of these parts needed to be replaced on our organ, the Buzard organ company would find a replacement from the dwindling supply of parts taken from defunct pipe organs. Eventually there will be no more replacement parts. For many years, this band-aid approach has been taken to correct the immediate problem; a more comprehensive action will finally cure it before it is too late (worst-case scenario: eventually the organ ceases to function properly and there is nothing we can do about it because there are no replacement parts).
There has also been a dramatic increase this past year in the occurrence of random "dead notes"-- playing a note and getting no sound (often with no warning). This related issue will also be fixed by the action we are taking this summer.
The Buzard organ company will replace the current console with a new one which will both strengthen and update the present electronic relay system. This will not affect the sound or size of the organ, or require any changes to the organ pipes or pipe room, but only the playing console. The work will take place in July and August. During that time, the organ will not be available for our use. June 30th will be the last Sunday with the present organ console in place. The refurbished organ will make its debut in September.
-Dr. Michael Hammer, Organist
I am sharing this information with my blog readers for two reasons: 1) over the summer, on Fridays, I will be writing a series of blogs which I will invite my congregation to read. These are designed to educate and promote appreciation for the wonderful instrument we have in our sanctuary and the pipe organ in general. They will also keep us all abreast of the work as it proceeds, and whet our appetites for the sound of the organ when it is returned to us after an absence of over two months.
2) if you are not from my congregation, you get to come along for the ride! I've learned a lot about organs in recent years and am looking forward to learning a lot more.
The blog series will really warm up in July, when the organ console disappears from among us. We will have a wonderful Steinway piano to lead us in worship, or course, but I'm sure we will still miss the organ. Anyhow, this will be quite an adventure. I'm looking forward to it.