Milnar Organ Company - Established 1968

Organo    Pleno

Newsletter, Spring 2011


     Master Organist Andrew Risinger performed a wonderful recital of classical and contemporary pieces as part of the Murfreesboro Symphony series. It was preformed at the First United Methodist Church on their Milnar Organ. Andrew played with Symphony musicians for select organ pieces. Isn’t it great that over 325 people paid good ticket prices to hear an organ recital that ended the evening with a standing ovation! Check out our home page of our website for more information on the recital.

     This past winter was one of the coldest on record. We had many service calls on organs that were ciphering due to dryness. We advised churches to keep the humidity level above 40% in the sanctuary. In the past, this was not as difficult because most congregations kept the heat set back to 55 or 60 degrees during the week. If your humidity is low and you’re required to keep your heat at a constant temperature, we recommend that you install a commercial humidifier on your heating system. A gauge that displays temperature and humidity should be placed near the console so you can personally keep track of your humidity level.



Forest Hills United Methodist Brentwood, TN

                Forest Hills Methodist Church suffered water damage during the historic flood of May 2010. Their 1975 Möller was not damaged in the upstairs chambers, but water did flood the basement where the blower is located. We were able to make a quick service call to the church to block off the airlines to the chambers before humidity and mold damaged the organ.

                We removed the damaged blower and bellows from the basement blower room. It took several hours to disassemble the old blower; it was too large to take out in one piece. We built a 6 foot platform above the water line to support a new blower and bellows. Their rectifier, 220VAC disconnect and motor contactor were also replaced. It was necessary to kill the mold that had started growing in the main airline before installing the new blower and high pressure bellows. Mold can deteriorate leather very quickly costing thousands of dollars to replace.

     The new blower can be handled by one person and has a greater wind capacity.  Don’t you love new technology?


Schermerhorn Symphony Center Nashville, TN

     The big flood also damaged the basement of the Symphony Center. The water stood twenty six feet deep and ruined the Schoenstein console, four blowers and the high pressure bellows to the organ. There were also many musical instruments including two new Concert Grand Steinway pianos that were a total loss. Being the designated service technicians, we were called by Schoenstein to seal off the airlines leading to the organ chambers. This was to prevent mold and high humidity from damaging the organ. Before we were able to work at the Schermerhorn, everyone had to get a tetanus shot and put on a bio hazard suit. Not comfortable!

     We also removed all the damaged parts in the blower room including all the airlines. We stripped the console down and sent Schoenstein the custom made brass parts that were not damaged by the flood and the internal hard drive memory.

     After the Schoenstein Crew installed the new console, blowers, etc., they turned the organ on and found it to be in relative good tune. It’s amazing, but they retrieved stored music from the flooded hard drive that Andrew Risinger had recorded before the flood and put it in on the flash drive. When they plugged it in and the organ came alive, people all over the Schermerhorn Center stopped work and came to the Laura Turner Hall to listen to that fine instrument. When the piece was over, they responded with very enthusiastic applause. A moment to remember!

     Today, after all the work on the restoration of the building and the instrument, the Schermerhorn Center and the Nashville Symphony are back in full swing.


First Presbyterian Rockwood, TN

     First Presbyterian in Rockwood has a 6 Rank Henry Pilcher’s Sons organ, built in 1920. We were contracted to update the air-driven console to solid state, re-leather their two bellows and re-leather the stoppers of three sets of wooden pipes. Their 90 year old internal note pouch and primary leather is still holding, but will need replacing in the next 10 to 20 years. The tanning process of leather, before World War II, used only natural substances. This, along with small town clean air, explains the longevity of their internal leather. Longtime organist, Geraldine Wallick, was pleased we were able to “update” the Pilcher organ without changing its original tone quality.  As you can see, the before and after pictures are pretty dramatic.


First Christian Rockwood, TN

     First Christian Rockwood has a wonderful 1972, 27 Rank Möller pipe organ in their sanctuary. The Organist, Mr. Fred Pogue, called us in the summer of 1995  to service and tune the instrument. We found the organ in need of a good tuning. The chambers were high in the room on both sides of the sanctuary on outside walls. The fabric grill material was very tightly woven, restricting air flow into the chambers. We replaced their original melatone grill material with stamped metal sheets. This allowed air to flow into the chambers. Prior to the re-screening, the organ chambers went through dramatic temperature swings rendering the reeds unusable until we returned to tune again. Since the metal sheets were installed, the reeds stay in tune with the flue pipes and the divisions are also in tune with each other.

     The console, although very well built, still had its noisy driver pouches, air switches and limited single level memory. The interior leather pouches were deteriorating and in need of rebuilding. The church chose to upgrade the console. We installed a 32-level Peterson combination action and diode-matrix relay in the console to handle coupler and Pedal switching. We also installed a new 4’ Principal and II Sesqialtera in the Swell to fill in gaps in the principal chorus.


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