RESTORATION OF THE HISTORIC AEOLIAN-SKINNER PIPE ORGAN
PROCESS AND FINANCIAL GOALS FOR THIS PROJECT
— Phase One: Planning the Restoration
Our pipe organ was built in 1940 by Æolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, and designed by the renowned G. Donald Harrison. Our church and organists have taken great care of it but, after 81 years of wear and tear, it is time to implement some major repairs. We have decided to go even further and completely restore the organ to its original glory as well as make some improvements that are compatible with the Æolian-Skinner sound and character. After documenting the needs of our organ and researching qualified companies that could perform the restoration, we accepted the proposal of A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company of Lithonia, Georgia. The Schlueter company has extensive experience with Æolian-Skinner organs and will be very respectful of our historic instrument.
— Phase Two: Raising Funds
Accomplishing the restoration will require $415,000. We have mounted a fundraising campaign that includes multiple components. Naturally, we are receiving contributions from our own church members and friends of our congregation. Those friends include people like you who are invited to contribute by mail or online through this website and our Facebook site. Our organ was the star in a series of fundraising events such as concerts and organ-accompanied vintage silent films. Unfortunately, those events had to be curtailed due to the months-long pandemic but we hope to resume the presentations as soon as public health policies allow. We are also reaching out to charitable foundations that have an interest in historic preservation, especially of cherished organs like ours. When we reach our goal, we will continue seeking donations to fund an endowment for the organ’s continued maintenance and support through the coming years.
—Phase Three: The Restoration
By June of 2021 we had made substantial progress in our fundraising but we’d not yet reached our goal. However, since our progress was significant, we were able to secure the commitment of a loan to fill the gap between the funds we’ve raised and the total we will need to fulfill the contract. With that funding guarantee in place, we signed the contract with A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company on June 20, 2021. The project began immediately, but initial progress will not be visibly apparent. The first steps include thoroughly documenting the specific condition and inventory of all of the organ’s components and completing the detailed design of the restored organ. We are also securing our place in Schlueter’s workshop production schedule. We forecast that the organ will be removed from the sanctuary in late October 2021 and a temporary organ will be installed. The complete restoration project is forecast to take 13-15 months. Meanwhile, your continued generous contributions to our fundraising campaign will decrease the amount we must borrow. Please donate online here or mail a check. Your generosity will help preserve our cherished pipe organ for more decades of beautiful music.