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Restoration of the First United Methodist Church of Halstead Pipe Organ

The original Reuter Pipe Organ was installed in the new First United Methodist Church in 1955. The pipe organ consisted of a Two Manuel Console with 17 stops and nineteen ranks. The pipes were all installed in the two Organ Chambers in the Chancel. This was updated about fifteen years ago (1989) by adding an additional rank of pipes in order to give the Organists more options of stops. As early as 1997 the Church was notified that it was time to be thinking about having a large costly repair work done on the forty-year-old Organ. The reason for this was the deterioration of the old switching system, and ongoing tuning concerns caused by temperature problems in the two existing chambers and availability of new technology. Because of these problems it was decided to upgrade the entire Console and Pipe Organ.

A contract was presented by Organ Builder and the Reuter Organ Company, Lawrence, Kansas, and signed on November 6, 1998, to build the following Pipe Organ. The new Pipe Organ is Opus 1124 and 50, 151, of the Reuter Organ Commpany, Lawrence, Kansas. It has now been expanded to 26 stops (32 ranks) over three manuals with a total of 1,930 pipes and one 12-note pedal extension. The Organ represents a trend in American organ building to re-use existing materials in a musically sound manner. This tradition has been practiced in Europe for centuries, with the most celebrated instruments, having their musical basis built upon existing instruments.

The project had two basic parts. The first was the dismantling and removal of the existing organ from the chambers and the refurbishment of those parts to be reused. Second was the reconstruction of the organ with its additions in new framing and swell boxed to the chancel, culminating in the installation of the new start-of-the-art moveable console. The physical design and installation of the new instrument was by Douglas McCord. All new pipework, windchests and repair to old pipework done by Reuter. The tonal design is by David Salmen. Tonal finishing was by Salmen and Roger Banks. In this phase of organ building, an instrument's beauty is discovered and the organ is married to the acoustics of the building.

The divisions of the new Organ is the Great, Swell, Choir and Pedal. There are 15 intermanual couplers. The Console is a Reuter custom movable drawknob console with self-contained oversized castors. Includes bone/rosewood keyboards, rosewood/ebony pedal sharps, tempered glass music rack, electric adjustable bench with back rest, solid state microprocessor-based relay and combination action with fiber optic transmission which includes the following:

Nine levels of console memory indefinitely expandable through any IBM compatible PC:

  1. Transposer
  2. MIDI interface
  3. 36 pistons and toe studs
  4. Programmable reversibles on each level of memory
  5. Programmable crescendo on each level of memory
  6. Programmable tutti on each level of memory
  7. Piston sequencer
  8. Digial record/playback with PC storage capability