About this Project
After serving for more than three and a half decades, it became clear to the congregants of Aldersgate United Methodist church that their sanctuary organ, Moller opus 9745, was in need of repairs. Mechanical failures and ciphers made accompanying a service challenging at best. Led by their organist, the congregation began searching for a remedy for their ailing organ. Their search ended with Cornel Zimmer Organbuilders who were contracted in 2004 to complete the rebuilding of the instrument as their opus 80.
As the existing windchests were still in good condition, the decision was made to retain the existing windchests and pipework and make additions as needed to fill in the tonal gaps left in the original specification. In order to give the organist a larger tonal palette from which to choose, a fourth manual with a solo division was added.
The faithful congregation took on the task of removing the thick carpet that covered the entire chancel area. New tile flooring has been installed greatly improving the acoustics in the chancel. While the acoustics improved dramatically, congregants had always experienced difficulty in hearing the organ in the rear of the sanctuary. To overcome this difficulty, a floating antiphonal division, complete with festival trumpet and pedal division was added at the rear of the nave. In divisions where pipework could not be added, Walker digital voices were used for their superior sound and flexibility in voicing.
All existing reservoirs were re-leathered in our shop and all leather in the windchests was either replaced or treated to ensure decades of superior performance. Master cabinetmaker George Zong constructed a new console of Mahogany, which was finished to match the existing woodwork in the church by our finishing expert, Marty Lemmons. Tonal director, Jim Twyne re-voiced all of the existing pipe work, much of which had scarcely been touched after its initial installation. When rescaling or repairs were necessary, pipe-maker Tommy Linder provided the needed pipe work. Eric Molenaar and Nathan Bryson of the electrical department wired the new console, and almost all employees were involved in the re-wiring of the existing windchests.
All of the pipework was removed in July of 2004 and returned to our shop in Denver, NC where it was cleaned and revoiced, with the exception of the bottom octaves of the 16’ Bourdon and Gedackt, which were revoiced on site. Pipework was returned and the windchests rewired in September and the console arrived in early November. Jim Twyne and assistant Nathan Bryson completed final voicing. The completed organ consists of 5 manual and 2 pedal divisions. A full array of couplers and 100 levels of memory afford the organist unlimited flexibility in registration.
Aldersgate United Methodist church is now blessed with a large organ capable of playing all genres of music, accompanying a healthy music program, and leading the congregation in the worship. The organ will be dedicated on January 30th, 2005 and Stefan Engels will play the dedication recital on April 10th, 2005.