The existing organ console is connected by a set of relays, switches, and an electro-pneumatic memory system in the organ chambers to the organ mechanism. Approximately 10,000 tiny silver contacts under the keys, in relays, and on electro-pneumatic switches both in the console and in the organ chambers are sparking and failing due to mechanical wear and tear.
A new, moveable, mahogany organ console, including modern solid-state mechanisms for setting combinations, will be constructed and installed. Installation will include a lift and related modifications to the left of the chancel allowing the console to be raised from the organ pit and moved to the center of the chancel for occasions such as concerts.
The existing console’s thumb and toe pistons allow the organist to preset various combinations of stops. Currently, leather-covered bellows in the organ chambers operate silver-contact switches to record which stops are set on each piston. Each piston can remember only one combination of stops, limiting the pieces that can be performed without a time-consuming mechanical resetting of stops. Currently, organists are utilizing certain “workarounds” to play through existing mechanical issues.
Thousands of combinations of stops can be stored by the organist with the solid-state control systems of modern consoles. Only a few dozen can be stored with our existing instrument, so the new console will greatly expand the works that can be performed in one service or concert.
Several large zinc pipes have crumpled, bent, or bowed. Tuning scrolls are rattling from fatigue. Split soldered joints are sealed with duct tape. The seal of a failing leather stopper is stuffed tight with a plastic garbage bag.
A comprehensive mechanical overhaul of the organ requires all pipework to be removed to the repair facility for restoration. All wiring will be replaced and new leather pouches and tremolos installed. Restored pipes will then be reinstalled. Minor tonal modifications are under consideration as well.
Existing sanctuary lights are “spotty,” throwing large dots of uneven light around the ceiling ledge of the room. The components of this original lighting system, in use since 1969, are mechanical and outdated. Parts are becoming difficult to find. Repairs are costly and even, at times, impossible. Maintaining the existing lighting system could cost more over time than a new installation and use considerably more energy.
Installation of a new LED lighting system would take two to three weeks, and worship would not be affected. Working lights would be in service throughout the lighting restoration process. When complete, the new LED system’s cooler fixtures would provide an even glow. LED lighting fixtures last 25 times longer and, according to manufacturers’ literature, consume one-sixth the energy of incandescent bulbs.
The spoken word reverberates in high spaces in the Sanctuary, making it almost impossible to hear clearly, especially in the chancel. People sitting in the transepts hear little if anything, and ministers cannot clearly make out what is said in the chancel. The congregation hears the choir perfectly; however, depending on where they are seated, some choristers cannot hear the sermon.
Sound technology has improved dramatically since the pew-back speaker system was installed in 1973. If funded, a professional evaluation would guide repairs or upgrades to our sound system to enhance speech clarity and our understanding throughout the Sanctuary.