St. Joseph Catholic Church
Lake Orion, MI Opus 35R, 2013
In 2012 funds became available for the rebuild. Since the church has several talented artisans whose skills could be used as part of the project, we decided to enlarge the instrument to three manuals. The original console was enlarged by Keith Shuert, and we located two Schantz keyboards to match the originals. The original cases were combined on a platform built by the church, and we designed a new case in Gothic style applied to the front. The pipeshades are inspired by some of the architectural details of Westminster Hall. The original relay system was replaced by a multiplex control system, which incorporates a multiple memory combination action. This system also provides for Midi functions and playback features.
The original instrument had both the Great and Swell divisions under expression. Those we left in their swell boxes, while the new Positiv division is in the open. We moved the Rohrschalmei from the Great to the Positiv, and installed a rebuilt Trumpet stop where it had been in the Great. We added an Unda Maris to the Great to give a shimmering effect along with the Dulciana. The 16' Montre, which consists of new aluminum pipes in the facade, is new; its largest six pipes lie on their sides on top of the case.
In 1961 the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio (home of Smuckers) built a two-manual organ for Ascension Catholic Church in Warren. The organ was in two matching cases in the corners of the choir loft. The cases were simple, with clusters of dummy pipes on their inside corners. Sometime after Vatican II the console was moved downstairs. When that church was closed the organ became available, and we recommended it for installation at St. Joseph's. In June of 2008 we dismantled it and put it in storage in the school basement.
The original organ had 1145 pipes; the rebuild has 1736.
Pipe organ projects are very labor-intensive; we spent more than 2900 hours on this project, not including dismantling the organ in Warren. Many people from the parish were involved over the course of the work; Rich Herbert and his team, who did a mammoth amount of stripping and refinishing, were kept especially busy. Our own team consisted primarily of Michael O'Neill and David Wigton. Richard Swanson was involved in the voicing and tonal finishing. It was gratifying to work with Father Mike and Leszek, and we thank the people of St. Joseph for entrusting this project to us. We hope it will serve the liturgy well for many years to come.
David K. Wigton