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 Aeolian-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 82 years of wear and tear, it was time to implement some major repairs. So in 2018 the church appointed an organ restoration task force which began developing a plan. We decided to even further than repairs and completely restore the organ to its original glory as well as make some improvements that are compatible with the Aeolian-Skinner sound and character. We also want to install additional ranks that were in G. Donald Harrison’s original plan but the church couldn’t afford to implement at the time of installation. 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 Aeolian-Skinner organs and will be very respectful of our historic instrument.
— Phase Two: Raising Funds
Accomplishing the restoration will require $415,000. In 2019 we 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, online through this website or on our Facebook site. Our organ was the star in a series of fundraising events such as concerts and an organ-accompanied vintage silent film. Unfortunately those events had to be curtailed in early 2020 due to the pandemic. We also reached out to charitable foundations that have an interest in historic preservation, especially of cherished organs like ours. At the end of 2022 we achieved our fundraising goal, but we have left the campaign open to receive additional donations to fund an endowment for the organ’s continued maintenance and support going forward.
— Third Phase: The Restoration
Following the documenting and inventorying of all of our pipe organ’s components, it was removed in stages from February to April 2022 and a loaner electronic organ was installed for our use. Restoration is in progress and is currently over halfway completed. Various members of the Schlueter staff work on portions of the organ simultaneously. Some technicians work on metal pipes, some on wooden pipes and some on the console. Some work on the reservoirs, wind chests and pouch boards. Others work on the electrical wiring and the thousands of tiny components. The reed pipes have been delivered to a shop in Ohio with an expertise in that specialty, The additional pipes we are acquiring have arrived at the shop and are being readied for incorporation into the organ. The restoration is forecast to be completed and the organ reinstalled in our sanctuary in time for Easter 2023. Meanwhile, your continued contributions to our fundraising campaign will help fund ongoing routine maintenance. Please donate online here, or mail a check. Your generosity will help preserve our cherished pipe organ for more decades of beautiful music!