Our congregation has dreamed of a pipe organ since at least the 1980’s. As we’ve expanded and grown and our worship space has moved, we’ve carried that dream, and when we built our new sanctuary we included space for pipes, in case that were to become reality. Now, as of Easter Sunday 2018, it has!
The good people of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Louis, MO installed and enjoyed their 31-rank W. Zimmer and Sons Pipe Organ Company instrument, designed by Dr. Paul Bunjes of Concordia University Chicago, in 1986. In 2017 they relocated to a new sanctuary, which no longer fits their organ. As an act of faithful stewardship they have entrusted their instrument to us at Christ Lutheran.
The organ is a two-manual instrument designed and voiced in the Northern Germanic tradition. Berghaus Organ Builders transported it from St. Louis to their shop in Bellwood, IL, where it underwent various changes and upgrades to insure a long life of dependable service for Christ Lutheran Church. These included modernizing and refinishing the console, adding a brand new combination action system, as well as replacing the existing pneumatic stop action with electric slider motors, thus creating a cleaner, more reliable system, and one with far fewer leather parts to maintain. The instrument was thoroughly cleaned and repaired in the shop, and then transported to Valparaiso to be voiced. The voicing process creates the proper blend and balance throughout the instrument in the location which will be its new home—our sanctuary. Every individual pipe received careful attention and adjustment in the voicing process. Two new ranks have been added to the original instrument to fill out the tonal voice in the sanctuary.
The pipes are installed into the Organ Loft located directly above the main entrance to the sanctuary and will extend into the Organ Chamber. Directly behind the tall, polished pipes of the facade (front row), the windchests for the Great pipes extend across the length of the Organ Loft. Behind the screen is the enclosed Swell windchest on the left side (as you face the organ), and the Pedal pipes on the right side. The Organ Console (keyboard) is placed up front in the sanctuary, and is also portable, allowing us terrific flexibility.
Our first notes were on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018! We are thrilled, and excited to start discovering how this beautiful instrument will shape and form us. Our Dedicatory Recital will be held June 3, 2018, at 4:00pm with Dr. John Bernthal performing. Please join us, and consider being part of this project to protect and honor a beautiful musical instrument: gifts made in honor of someone will be recorded in a memorial book to be displayed with the organ.