Above: The pipe organ is assembled! (March 16, 2020)
Organ News: Pay It Forward ... A feel good day!
For 75 years Northminster has been blessed to see our church grow from a single building facing Ralston St, to our sprawling facility now fronting Kessler Blvd. Over the years we have seen at least six major additions to that original structure.
Now we are at it again. This time we are opening up the Chancel space to accommodate our new Fisk pipe organ and to allow for reconfiguring the choir in an expanded format. The white ornate pediment and columns that has encased the dosal curtain and cross since 1956 has been removed to welcome the new organ and a new larger cross. Some members who have viewed that pediment for so many years have feared for its fate.
We can all feel good in that we have donated it to a small church on the north side of Indianapolis. Union Chapel Methodist, west of Keystone on 86th Street, is the recipient. Their church (a mini version of ours) is constructing a new gathering space. The pediment and columns will frame the entrance into their new Social Hall. Our blessings are being payed forward! You (we) are a blessing to someone else!
September 15th - Last Sunday to Hear Our Pipe Organ
On Sunday, September 15th, we worshipped with our current organ for the last time. Since 1962, our Reuter pipe organ has served generations of Northminster members and guests as they have attended weddings, funerals, worship services and concerts. We are delighted that our organ was sold and will find a new home at St. Malachy Catholic Church, Brownsburg, Indiana.
The organ was removed the week of September 16th in order to prepare the chancel for the installation of our new pipe organ from C. B. Fisk, which will arrive in January.
The Session has appointed a Taskforce to oversee the pipe organ purchase project, including organ planning, construction, installation, etc. These are the folks who will know everything there is to be known about the status and details of the project. If you have questions, please contact them:
Rob Rothrock, David Neitzel, Andy Longo, Mike Boris, Blake Schlabach, Linda Furuness and Bob Gudgel. John Wright and Marko Petričić will provide staffing. Andy Longo will be serving as the chairperson.
Thank you again for your generous support of this project.
June 2019 Update:
Dear Northminster Presbyterian Church Friends
The Organ Task Force (OTF) felt an update was necessary as we move into the summer months
First and foremost, this project would not have been possible without the generosity of many members of this congregation. Funding for the Organ project comes from funds raised during the capital campaign, the special appeal early in 2019 and the proposed sale of the existing organ.
Your thoughtful gifts will allow us to retire an instrument that has served us well since 1962 and replace it with an instrument reflecting the finest in design, craftsmanship, quality and sound. We are all truly blessed be part of this time in the musical history of our Church.
C.B. Fisk began building our organ…Opus 154…at their factory in Gloucester, MA last month. At the moment, they’re constructing some of the internal mechanics of the organ. They’re cutting and assembling the bellows and wind chests, crucial parts of the “wind system” that is the heart of the organ. A final decision on the visual design of the organ case itself is still a ways out, but in the meantime, Fisk has been working on a scale model of the Chancel to show different designs of the organ “in place”, as well as ideas on what changes we may need to consider to the Chancel.
While placing the organ in the center of the back wall of the Chancel will do wonders for projecting the sound out to the Sanctuary, “installation” of a pipe organ includes much more than just standing up the instrument and bolting it to the wall. The “acoustic space”, which includes things like the shape of the Chancel and Sanctuary, noise from the air conditioning and heating system, and temperature differences between the floor and the ceiling, plays a major role in how the organ will perform. The physical layout of the Chancel provides its own set of challenges. The wing walls on either side of the proscenium act as sound traps (spaces in corners and behind walls that catch the sound) and have always divided the church into two rooms that behave very differently acoustically. You may have noticed that, when he can, John Wright moves the choir forward of the proscenium onto the steps. This is so that both the choir and congregation are in the same room.
The OTF is working with Fisk to determine how best to manage this two-room issue. One option is to put sound-reflective walls up on either side of the Chancel to keep the sound from getting trapped behind the wing walls. Another option is to just remove the wing walls, opening up the Chancel to the Sanctuary, creating more of a single room. There is money in the budget for “site preparation”, and the OTF is working closely with Fisk, local engineers and contractors to see how much these types of changes to the Chancel could cost. We hope to get some hard numbers later this summer. In the meantime, Fisk continues their work and the OTF will post progress and pictures on the Organ Bulletin Board.
As always, if you have any questions about the organ, the process, the ideas or…whatever, please ask. We love talking to folks about the project.
The Northminster Organ Task Force