This page documents the 2016 restoration of the Christ Church pipe organ built by Klais Orgelbau in 1986. A specialized team from Bonn, Germany worked six days a week for over four weeks on this fascinating process. The pictures and videos below show a summary of each week’s progress. To see a full size image, hover over the picture and click.
August 1-6, 2016
Dominik Haubrichs and Martina Schlosser, Klais organ technicians from Bonn, Germany, arrived Monday evening, August 1st, and began cleaning and disassembling the organ the next day.
Dominik plays Bach to test organ before disassembling.
The “before” picture of the Klais Organ, installed in 1986. After 30 years of use, it will be cleaned, repaired, and made better than new.
Dominik lays out his tools, some recognizable, some specific to organ restoration. Notice his chiseled initials.
Dominik’s “to-do” list and plans, in German of course.
Sarah and Dominik inspect the new rank of pipes.
The organ console is stripped of it’s keyboards, stop buttons, and pedals. All are checked and cleaned.
This is what the organ’s keyboard looks like removed from it’s console. These keys interact with the tracker system to open and close pipes.
The pedals and bench are removed. This is the underside of our concave pedal board.
Each wood panel of the organ case is removed and cleaned.
With the organ panels removed, the tracker action is visible. This is a mechanical system by which each time the organist presses a key or pedal, the correct pipe is opened or closed. The tiny slivers of wood are made of pine.
Inside the small tool cupboard that is part of the organ case. These are tools and replacement parts that are kept on hand for the organ’s bi-annual tuning and inspection.
The original electronic setter sitting on the floor in front of the pedalboard. The new setter is on the right side of the picture sitting on the organ bench.
Dominik checks the connections for the new computerized setter that will replace the old circuit board in the organ.
Dominik spacing the keys exactly.
Dominik works on the keyboard.
Martina inspects the end of a wooden pipe.
August 8-13, 2016
Pipes, pipes everywhere! Dominik and Martina removed ranks of pipes, cleaned them and checked them. Smaller pipes are supported in oak racks. Larger pipes are held in frames with hooks. The pipes are crafted from tin-lead alloy or wood. The ratio of tin to lead and the type of wood determines the sound of each pipe. The size of the pipe determines its pitch. Woods used are mahogany, pine, and oak. One full rank of flute pipes was replaced in our organ this week, giving the rank a more accurate sound.
Ranks of pipes across the bell tables and in oak racks on the chancel floor.
Pipes stored on the grand piano, against the walls, and oak racks too.
Lots of big wooden pipes stacked in the chancel.
A rank of tiny flute pipes. The gloves provide size comparison. These give a very high piccolo/flute sound.
This oak rack holds a rank of very tiny flute pipes.
Large wooden and metal pipes leaning against back wall.
Here you can see the second floor of the organ case, accessed by ladder. There are also several rows of wooden pipes visible.
The conical end of this rank of pipes gives a trumpet sound.
The conical curved end of this rank of pipes creates an oboe sound.
This rank of pipes are “stopped” and called Bourdon Pipes. This forces the air to act as if the pipes were twice their length.
This set of pipes have been removed from the organ and will be replaced by a better crafted flute set.
A close-up of the new set of flute pipes being installed into the organ. The ends of this rank are tapered giving a better flute sound.
Bob Griffith and colleagues visit from Ohio Wesleyan University. Dominik (on the right) is updating them on the restoration process.
All pipes have been removed. The front extension was reinforced to compensate for the drying wood and weight of pipes. Martina and Dominik spent the week replacing the pipes rank by rank, tuning as they went.
The organ case is completely empty. Martina stands in the lower level handing small ranks of pipes to Dominik who is in the upper level.
Martina goes for another pipe. The workers wear rubber gloves to keep skin oils off of the pipes.
Martina stands below the organ’s upper level, handing a pipe up to Dominik.
Dominik kneels in the empty organ case, demonstrating the reinforcement of the front extension.
The new computerized setter is installed inside the case. This sends the signal to adjust specific pipes so they will sound like different instruments.
Dominik works at the keyboard while directing adjustments to Martina who is in the organ case.
Resetting the pipes and tuning continued. By the end of the week, all pipes were back in their places. Martina spent much of her time holding down keys while Dominik tuned from inside the organ. Reading a book seemed to help keep sleep at bay. The sounds wafting from the Sanctuary ranged from piercing long tones to beautiful pieces of Bach. Work went faster than expected, so Dominik and Martina changed their travel plans to head back a week and a half early. The organ was almost complete!
The last of the pipes lean against the Sanctuary wall | Christ United Methodist Church in Marietta, Ohio
Reed pipes. These pipes have an actual reed inside the tube, tuning wires, and long resonators. They are from the Ducian stop and sound like the bassoon.
Reed pipes withtuning wires, resonators still attached. | Christ United Methodist Church in Marietta, Ohio
The resonators for the larger reed pipes that are inside the organ case. | Christ United Methodist Church in Marietta, Ohio
Martina’s Purgatory: Sitting for hours pushing keys while Dominik tunes from inside the case. Reading a book helps keep sleep at bay.
Dominik demonstrated the organ for the congregation on Sunday, August 28th. All the tuning was completed by Monday evening and the job was done. On Tuesday, Organ Consultant Bob Griffith of Ohio Wesleyan University visited and Dominik demonstrated the improvements and repairs. Dr. Griffith proclaimed the organ had a better sound after restoration than it had in 1986 when it was installed. We held a farewell luncheon where we honored Dominik and Martina for all their work. Afterwards, Dr. Griffith played a short concert for us and Martina shared her beautiful voice. The organ renovation was a fascinating and delightful process!
Farewell Party: Danke, Dominik & Martina!
Farewell Party: Pastor Don doing what he does best…making us all smile and laugh, especially Martina and Dominik.
Farewell Party: Martina & Dominik look over the original 1986 dedication program for the Klais organ.
Farewell Party: Dominik holds a wooden block representation of Christ UMC while Martina opens her card.
Farewell Party: Martina looks at a “Churches of Marietta” book while Dominik shows off his Marietta, Ohio shirt.
Farewell Party: Martina holds up her Marietta, Ohio, shirt.