News November 2002

Roosevelt High School Organ Repaired

The Seattle School District authorized the Pipe Organ Foundation to repair, tune, and put back into service the two manual, seven rank, 1940 Moller pipe organ in the auditorium of Roosevelt High School. That organ had originally been given to the school in memory of V.K. Froula, a man who for 16 years worked hard to make the school an outstanding institution.

Volunteers from the Foundation found that the organ was basically in fairly good condition considering its age, and that it had not been badly vandalized. There was damage to some of the pipes in one of the two chambers in which storage of supplies had occurred. Repair was also needed on a number of contact switches and an occasional pneumatic motor, all of which are reaching the end of their life span.

In addition, the organ was badly out of tune. All repairs were made, and the organ is now fully playable. When the school is renovated in less than two years, the organ is to be completely rebuilt.

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Volunteer Carl Dodrill assists with tuning of the Roosevelt organ.

The Foundation's First Pipe Organ is Completed

In June, 2002, rebuilding was finished on the two manual, eight rank electropneumatic organ which was once Sandy Balcom's home organ, and in July, 2002, this organ was placed at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Issaquah, Washington. It was dedicated on August 2, 2002, the Reverend Eric Irwin officiating. A total of 10 months had been required to rebuild the organ, prepare the chamber at the church, and to install and tonally finish the organ. The volunteers of the Foundation contributed approximately 1,275 hours of time to the rebuilding and placement of the organ, and volunteers at the church contributed a number of additional hours to move and install the organ, and to build a blower shed.

The organ consists of 525 pipes and a set of 20 chimes. The ranks of pipes are as follows: Diapason, Octave, Flute, Dulciana, Gemshorn, Gemshorn Celeste, Clarinet, and Tuba. All pipes are placed in a single chamber which is under expression.

Significant ceiling height limitations down to 75 inches made the placement a challenging one. Haskelizing and mitering of pipes helped to achieve the goal of getting the organ in the space available. Nevertheless, for the sanctuary which seats approximately 140 people, the organ has ample volume, and the swell shades are in fact somewhat closed to contain the instrument.

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Anna McPherson, church organist, plays the newly installed organ.

Although the church plans to start a new sanctuary in the not too distant future, the members felt that getting a pipe organ now was desirable not only because of how it would enhance worship, but also because of the terms offered them by the Foundation which did not require that the organ be purchased. The church paid a nominal installation fee and since that time has leased the organ, again for a nominal amount each month. When the move is made into the new sanctuary, the anticipation is that the organ will also be moved into it.

Getting Involved

You are invited to be involved in the Pipe Organ Foundation. Volunteers are needed to do bench work in the Foundation facilities on Mercer Island. The work is repetitive but not strenuous and it is in a pleasant environment. Contact Carl to inquire. Financial contributions are especially welcome at this time as they would make possible the projects outlined above plus others in the planning stage. Contact us with any questions you may have.

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