Church dismantles organ to make way for bigger, better instrument

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers  – Tim Smith from Chesapeake Organ Service in Red Lion, Pa., drills screws out of the top of the organ at Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina. The organ is being taken apart with a bigger one headed to the church.

MEDINA – For nearly a century the organ at Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina filled the sanctuary with sounds of beloved church hymns.

But in recent days, the organ has been torn apart, with sounds of drills, hammers and bursting wood.

The organ should be gone in a few days. By Easter, a bigger, better organ will be in its place.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the church,” said Andrew Meier, the church organist.

Tim Smith works on removing the church organ at Trinity Lutheran.

Meier helped orchestrate the change. Trinity is removing an organ from 1925 with eight ranks or eight sets of pipes and two manuals or keyboards. It will be replaced with one from 1968 that has 29 sets of pipes and three keyboards. Christ Episcopal Cathedral in Cincinnati, Ohio donated the 1968 Holtkamp pipe organ to Trinity Lutheran.

The church in Cincinnati is being renovated and is putting in a more compact organ. Trinity has the space for the organ to be spread out in all of its glory.

Smith’s company will clean and rebuild the organ. The church has raised most of the money for the project, but donations are welcome. (Checks for “Organ Fund” can be sent to Trinity Lutheran Church, 1212 West Ave., Medina NY 14103.)

Trinity has the space in the balcony to accommodate a large organ. Tim Smith is standing on top of the instrument.

Meier said there are many fine organs in Orleans County as well as in Rochester.

“We could make our area an organ destination,” he said. “I think we really have something here.”

Smith has seen a resurgence in the instruments, with Gen X’ers leading a push to more traditional church music with organs. He also is executive director of The Portageville Chapel in Wyoming County. That includes a church from 1841 with a chapel that serves as a retreat for organists. Smith said the chapel has been booked for 50 weeks this year for organists looking to hone their craft.

He connected with Meier at The Portageville Chapel. Smith said Trinity will be receiving an organ “in very fine condition.” He will bring the organ to Medina in stages, likely in beginning in January. The goal is to have the organ ready for April 5, Easter Sunday.

Tim Smith is working on the task of taking apart an organ from 1925.