News November 2006

Pipe Organ Foundation Board Approves Organ for Blessed Seelos Catholic Church
in New Orleans

On November 8, 2006, the Foundation Board met and approved providing an organ for Blessed Seelos Catholic Church in New Orleans. With the belief that financial support for this effort would be great enough from the assets of the Foundation and its supporters, the Board made the unprecedented decision to provide the instrument at no cost to the church. The gift is contingent on a plan being put in place by Seattle Community Church and Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, both in the State of Washington, to get the organ from the Seattle area to New Orleans and to have it installed there.

The Blessed Seelos Catholic Church is in a higher elevation part of the Ninth Ward. The church has suffered two major setbacks. In 2003, a fire swept through the sanctuary causing significant damage and destroying their two manual nine rank Wicks organ, but the building did not burn down. Services were then held in their other major building, but when hurricane Katrina came, that building was badly damaged (the sanctuary was not damaged) so that it could not be used. Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, Seattle Community Church, and others have restored the second building to full use, and the insurance monies from the fire have restored much of the sanctuary. However, there were no funds to replace the pipe organ.

Friends of the Foundation are asked to assist us in providing an instrument of similar size to the one that was previously in the church. Contributions in volunteer time and in funds are both needed. You may contact us through, by phone at 206 236-3492 or by mail at Pipe Organ Foundation, 4488 West Mercer Way, Mercer Island WA 98040-3934.

Third Pipe Organ Refurbishing Completed

In 2005, the Pipe Organ Foundation contracted with Mercy Hospital in Roseburg Oregon to undertake the rebuilding of an organ appropriate for their new McAuley Chapel. The Foundation worked with Richard Brown Architects in Portland beginning in 2003 in order to plan as smooth an installation as possible. The Foundation's Board of Directors recommended to the hospital that the services of Hochhalter Organs in Salem, Oregon be secured to come, pick up the organ once it was completed, take it to Roseburg, install it, and tonally finish the organ.

Details about this instrument and photographs of it are to be found under PROJECTS on this website. A total of 17 volunteers worked more than 1,300 hours over 7 months to bring this project to completion.

Foundation volunteers and crew with the McAuley Chapel organ loaded and ready for transport to Roseburg.

Foundation Historian Cited for National Contribution

James Stettner, Historian for the Pipe Organ Foundation, was cited by James H. Cook in the November 2006 issue of The American Organist for his unparalleled contributions to the Organ Historical Society Pipe Organ Data Base. At the time of the publication of that article, Mr. Cook wrote, "James Stettner has submitted more than 600 updates and additions to the database. His contributions serve as a model for the widespread participation that supports the work of the Organ Historical Society as well as that of the AGO." Congratulations, Jim, for a job well done!

The OHS database can be accessed at

Board News

Following the Foundation Board meeting in November, 2006, David Locke, MM was unanimously elected to the Board of Directors as Member at Large. David obtained his degrees in music at St. Olaf's and at Northwestern University, and he has been an organist for many years. Currently, he is organist at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Mercer Island, and he also does some playing elsewhere including at the chapel at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. David brings to the Board the perspective of an active organist, a perspective which has been missing on the Board since Douglas McNeel, M.D. left the Board in 2001 to pursue a career in academic medicine in Wisconsin. Welcome aboard, David, we are delighted to have you involved in the Foundation!

POF Board Members and Volunteers attend the AIO Convention

The American Institute of Organbuilders met in Seattle in October, 2006, and the POF was significantly involved in the meeting. Carl Dodrill, Foundation President, was on the Convention Committee, Board members Barbara Graham and Halie Dodrill attended part of the convention, and volunteers who also went to part or all of the convention were Chuck Huffington, Roger Meers, and Fred Beck. The attendance of these people was underwritten by the President's Fund of the Foundation which is being devoted substantially to continuing education efforts for everyone associated with the Foundation.

In addition, Foundation Historian James Stettner was one of the invited lecturers at the convention. He gave a lecture on, "The Kimball Influence in the Pacific Northwest" which was filled with illustration of Kimball organs in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. This lecture was very well received by the audience, and Jim's knowledge was abundantly evident to all in attendance.

Foundation Written Up in Spokane Newspaper

On October 29-31, 2006, three members of the Foundation (Barbara Graham, Carl and Halie Dodrill) went to Spokane to repair a 1951 Wicks organ at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. More than 20 notes were dead and there were several ciphers as well as several additional problems. Fortunately, none of the problems proved to be insurmountable, each one was fixed, and the organ was tuned before the team left. It was discovered that the organ was all set up for the addition of chimes and of several ranks of pipes, and plans were laid to make some additions to the organ in the spring.

The entire trip was written up in the November 16 issue of the Spokane Inland Register. In a very favorable article, reporter Mitch Finley summarized the very favorable encounter. Father Daniel Barnett, pastor of the parish was quoted as saying, "We look forward to working with Dr. Dodrill and the Pipe Organ Foundation in the future, and we hope to be able to follow through on their recommendations."

Roosevelt High School Organ Rebuild
Closer to Reality

The Foundation continues to work actively with the Friends of the Froula Memorial Pipe Organ, the Puget Sound Theatre Society, and the Seattle Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to rebuild the II/7 Moller organ that was placed in the auditorium in 1940. This was done in memory of the school's first principal, V. K. Froula. $78,637 was raised to provide a place for the organ in two chambers in the school's new theatre, and that theatre was completed in the summer of 2006. A consultant, Clinton Meadway was hired by the Foundation to provide and accurate estimate of the cost of the rebuild and expansion of the instrument, and the figure that resulted was $32,000. Of this amount, $7,000 has thus far been raised. Tax deductible gifts to this effort can be made by making out checks to the Alliance for Education, RHS Froula Memorial Organ Fund, c/o 1506 NE 76th St, Seattle WA 98115.

The Next Project: Expansion of the Organ
at Covenant Presbyterian Church

Covenant Presbyterian Church in Issaquah has now completed a handsome new sanctuary, and the Pipe Organ Foundation has committed itself to the installation of a pipe organ in the new building. A great deal of planning has already gone into this project, the rebuilding of the expanded instrument began in October, 2006 and is expected to be completed and installed by the summer of 2007. Details about the instrument will be forthcoming, and volunteers who will contribute time to this effort are especially sought at this time.

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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