Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 26, 2012

Church restoring 100-year- old organ

Congregation at First Presbyterian hopes that organ is back by Easter

LaGRANGE — In his thesis, David Wagner of Hillsdale College in Michigan gives a detailed picture of the pivotal role played by the pipe organ in the development of religious freedom and culture in the colonies of the New World.

“American history offers only a brief glimpse of the journey of the pipe organs from the ancient Greeks to the present-day,”  he wrote.

Wagner asserts the organ maintains a certain power.

“Though no longer just viewed as a tool for worship, the organ, because of its personality, size, volume, and variety of sound, impresses human spirit in unique and indescribable ways,” he wrote. “It remains a monument to the triumph of human skill and culture: an intersection between science, art, and craftsmanship, an ever-changing bridge between past and present.”

With such a rich history, it is no wonder the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange is investing in the complete restoration of its huge pipe organ.

In 2013 it will have been 100 years since the installation of a pneumatic assist, Hinner Tracker 14 rank pipe organ in their church. The organ had (and still does have) the original “surround-sound” emanating from those 671 pipes.

Although it appears as one unit, the Hinner is actually a combination of three organs.

“A survey of the instrument by several organ experts showed that many of the original stops, pipes, wood and other components are in relatively good condition,” said church Pastor Ken Weaver. “Unfortunately, only one of three ‘organs’ within the instrument is currently working.”

Having been the official church organist for the past 30 years, Kevin Ramer knows this organ very well. He manages to play around the instruments disabled parts. “There are keys, keyboards and pedals that no longer work,” Ramer said. “I have had to learn how to play around these problems.

“I may have to take lessons again because I am so used to playing around the flaws,” he admitted chuckling. “I won’t know what to do with a completely functioning instrument. I can’t wait to play it after the restoration.”

Ramer played the organ’s farewell concert in October to an appreciative audience of LaGrange residents, parishioners and Ramer fans.

Gail and Hank Gore praised Ramer’s talents on the instrument. They worked with Ramer in summer-stock theater and read about the concert in the Lutheran church bulletin.

David Schmidt is a retired teacher and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

“I see the organ’s restoration as a new beginning for our church,” Schmidt said. “It is like a reformation. We are looking forward. We plan to take an active role in bringing cultural events and music to the community on a regular basis.”

The organ’s authentic restoration will be done by the Levsen Organ Company of Buffalo, Iowa. In January the organ will be completely dismantled and the main wind reservoir bellows removed. Several large pieces of the organ will be transported to Iowa where they will be repaired at the Levsen workshop. The pipes and other components will be restored at the church by Levsen technicians.

Weaver said while the restoration takes place, they intend to renovate the chancel of the sanctuary. The new architectural focus will be on the magnificent oak casework of the organ. The space will be enlarged and other changes will be made to accommodate moving the organ forward a foot or two, providing better access for tuning and on-going maintenance.

“It would be wonderful to hold the rededication of the organ on Easter Sunday,” Weaver said. “We feel that our organ is an important piece of the heritage and history of LaGrange. We want to take every opportunity to share the joy and good fortune with our community.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140423 Wakarusa Musical 3 'A Kid's Life' portrays sudden techno loss WAKARUSA — The young people of our present day society don’t remember ever having lived their lives without some element of electronic gadgetry becoming involved. For them, it would be difficult to fathom the possibility of a world “off the grid.” So the fourth- and fifth-grade students of Wakarusa Elementary School will offer a comedic and chaotic interpretation of such a dilemma with their upcoming musical “A Kid’s Life.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 stress relief 03 Furry pals help GC students with dog days of finals GOSHEN - Goshen College students took a break from preparing for final exams to hangout with some four-legged friends Monday afternoon.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 FF spring play_3547 Fairfield students to present Oscar Wilde classic BENTON — Fairfield’s musicals and plays have recently left their status as an extracurricular activity and come under the wing of the Performing Arts Department and under the direction of Andrew Muth.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sheriff Brad Rogers_0657 Sheriff travels to Nev. ranch in fed dispute Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a Nevada rancher, and visited the scene of the struggle.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140209 snow storm 05 Elkhart, LaGrange counties denied FEMA aid GOSHEN — Elkhart and LaGrange counties were not among the 19 Indiana counties that had financial aid approved Tuesday by FEMA for a January winter storm.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup BASEBALL Falcons garner road win The Fairfield Falcons posted a 5-4 victory Tuesday evening at Rochester. Dustin Everage (three innings), Andrew Bobeck (three) and Austin Christner (one) pitched for the winners. Everage struck out three to earn the

    April 23, 2014

  • Akela.jpg SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Available cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Elkhart County. These loving animals are looking for permanent homes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN0423 BC IN Common Core Indiana panel approves new school standards

    A panel of Indiana business and education leaders were met with boos and jeers from attendees after they voted overwhelmingly Monday to support new math and English standards set to replace the Common Core in classrooms this fall.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The week in photos

    April 22, 2014

  • GN140421 board of works BOARD OF WORKS: Properties deemed uninhabitable

    Repairs still need to be made to two Goshen properties that had been targeted by the city Board of Public Works and Safety.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs