Lyndonville concert on Sept. 10 will raise funds to repair pipe organ from 1913

Photo by Ginny Kropf: (Left) Many of the pipes of Lyndonville Presbyterian Church’s organ are housed in an inner chamber. Some are made of wood and others of steel. (Right) The Lyndonville Presbyterian Church’s Felgemaker pipe organ dominates the sanctuary. It will be featured in a concert Sept. 10 to raise funds for its needed repairs.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 14 August 2023 at 5:15 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Presbyterian Church has a deep history, including the historic 1913 Felgemaker pipe organ purchased from the A. B. Felgemaker Organ Company that was founded in Buffalo in 1865 and relocated to Erie, PA in 1875.

As impressive as the organ is, it is in need of repair, and the church is planning a fundraising concert on Sept. 10 titled “Accentuate the Positive,” featuring retired Albion Central School musical director Gary Simboli.

Simboli’s invitation is “Come join me on a journey looking for the ‘positive’ in life. You find what you look for.”

A variety of songs from the American songbook will highlight the positivity all around us, including easy listening, rock’n roll, Broadway and movie standards.

Tickets are $10 at the door. The concert will be from 3 to 4 p.m., and all proceeds will go to the organ fund.

The Lyndonville Presbyterian Church was built in 1830. The sanctuary faced west and had box pews and a balcony. In the 1890s the floor was lowered, and the church was repositioned, and the front was built.

The Henry Hard family, who lived next door to the church, wanted an organ, and in 1913, to honor their son, Daniel, a lawyer in Lockport who died at the age of 40, they purchased the pipe organ in his memory.

Tom Wenhold, organist and music director at the Lyndonville Presbyterian Church, chats with pastor Martha Mitchell.

To demonstrate the complexity of the organ, Tom Wenhold, organist and music director at Lyndonville Presbyterian Church, explained the organ has 1,100 pipes, some made of wood and others of steel. Wenhold has been an organist in Lyndonville for nearly 30 years.

Over the years, the organ console has had to be worked on several times.

“Every time the console was worked on, it was dedicated – once to the Rev. Thomas Tiegh, who served from 1946-1950; and again in 1977 by Fred Bloom, organist for 35 years, in memory of his wife Elinore,” said Mitchell.

Wenhold said the last renovation was in 1990 when it was restored and all the pipes and the workings that run the pipes were rebuilt.

Most of the organ’s 1,100 pipes are housed in an inner chamber.

Today, the plastic contacts in the console are beginning to crumble.

“The problem with that is when the plastic pieces crumble, they fall on other parts and break them or cause them to not work,” Wenhold said.

The proposal is to replace the console with a modern, partially computerized one. It will be solid state and digital, Wenhold said. He said an organ is the closest thing to a computer before we had computers.

“The projected cost of the renovation including the blower is shy of 100,000 dollars,” Wenhold said. “This renovation will give our organ more flexibility, allowing it to transpose and record music.”

“Organists who substitute for Tom love to play this instrument,” the pastor said. “There aren’t that many pipe organs in Orleans County. People want to see it maintained. Concerts here throughout the year benefit the entire Lyndonville community.”