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Milnar Organ Company - Established 1968

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Newsletter 2012

We are very excited about the Belmont Music Hall transformation in Nashville, TN! The 1969 Aeolian/Skinner, Opus 1504 was removed without a hitch. The building’s ceiling was removed and has been raised to the roofline. The extra volume in the room will improve the acoustics. The floor was removed and a new floor will be tapered to the front of the room to create theater seating. There are many aesthetic changes that will make the room look like new.

The design of the organ will remain unchanged. We have taken the opportunity to re-leather bellows, replace expression machines and replace the mechanical control system with a Peterson  ICS-4000 software based system. We are building a new moveable platform for the console. This will allow it to be plugged into six different locations on the stage floor and can be stored off stage for certain occasions.

          Dr. Richard Shadinger and Andrew Risinger wanted the high pressure trumpet a little less aggressive, so we’re adding a bellows to regulate it to a lower pressure. It looks like the project is on schedule for an installation of the organ this Spring. We will keep you posted as things progress.


Saint Barnabas has a beautiful 1977 Casavant organ, Opus 3371 that has been under our care since it was installed. Several years ago, Evans Baird (Choirmaster) had us add an 8’ Dulciana to the Great division. This past year, we removed the console and totally rebuilt it adding a new Peterson ICS-4000 system and built a new name board for the expanded stop list.  There wasn’t space to add additional pipes so we contracted with the Walker Technical Company to add their voices to the organ.

With some re-voicing on our part and Walker blending their voices to the existing organ, the tonal scope of the organ was much improved. The Casavant is much more versatile with the new console upgrades, which makes it like a new organ.


Reverend Zack Young called from First Baptist in Lebanon and wanted an upgrade on their fine 21 Rank 1970 Shantz organ. We added two sets of nave shades. Since the nave shades make a new tonal change, we added a lighted “nave shades off” piston to the console for flexibility. Our firm removed the console and Great 8’ Trompete, Swell 8’ Hautbois and the Pedal 16’ Kontra Trompete. The reed ranks were cleaned, tongues and schallots polished and wedges tightened. All the cotton-coated cable from the console was removed and replaced with new PVC cables. New drawknobs were added with gold contacts in a vacuum tube. A Peterson ICS 4000 system with MIDI, etc. was installed in the console and organ chambers.


Milnar Organ Company has been servicing St. Paul’s in Franklin for over thirty years. Saint Paul’s was the mother (first) church of the Episcopalians in Tennessee. From 1902 to 1915, several memorials were donated by members that included eight stained glass windows and the Alter Cross, created by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The 1974 Shantz organ has 13 ranks. Don Dicie, the organist, wanted to upgrade the control system with a Peterson system and install MIDI sounds. The organ is in a balcony with no room for pipe additions. We added a MIDI sound module to the new Peterson ICS-4000 to increase the possible sounds that Don could use.

During the War Between the States, the town was occupied by the Federal Army and for three years, St. Paul’s was filled with soldiers who used the building as barracks. The pews, altar and organ fueled the fire that burned under the bell tower which now serves as a chimney stack. We hope that after our work on the organ, no one will use it as firewood!


  Sound Module inside console


We were installing a small organ in the Music building at Samford University in Birmingham, when a member of FBC Roanoke approached Todd and asked if we would look at their instrument. First Baptist has a 16 rank Wicks organ that needed the relay and switches upgraded. We replaced the old, worn out Wicks mechanical relay with a new solid state diode- matrix system. This time proven relay will reliably serve the church for many years.


Milnar Organ Co. was in the middle of tuning organs in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville when several tornados ripped through the North Alabama area. We had three crews in different locations heading for cover! Greg and Kevin had just left Cullman when the tornado struck. Derek and his wife Denise were just finishing the tuning at Calvary Baptist, in Tuscaloosa, when the tornado sirens started. They stayed in the building until the tornado passed. Their next stop was in Jackson Mississippi, and it took them almost two hours to leave Tuscaloosa due to the devastation on the roadways.


  Jeff and his wife Trisha were at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Madison, Alabama. While holding keys and looking out the window, Trisha could see debris flying horizontally at high speeds through the air. They, too, stayed in the building until the wind stopped. There wasn’t any power in the greater Huntsville area, so they could not get enough gas to come back home to Murfreesboro. They stayed in a Huntsville hotel with no electricity. Using flashlights, they were able to play cards. Thanks to God they were all safe.


Dr. Hirsbrunner from the First Baptist Church in Cullman called. They lost some of their roof and a large stained glass window was blown into their worship space. Water caused some damage on two of the Moller windchests. Debris was everywhere throughout the organ. We removed all the pipes for cleaning and replaced the damaged leather pouches in the windchests. All was back together before the Christmas program.


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