Milnar Organ 



First United Methodist Church

 Opelika, AL

Project Completed 2015


     The First United Methodist Church of Opelika has a rich and varied history, a history that parallels the city of Opelika itself. They have a beautiful 1968 Reuter. As you can see in the photo, the entire Great and part of the Pedal is exposed. The metal pipes and the slide tuners were very tarnished. We washed all the pipes in a chemical bath and replaced the tin slide tuners with modern stainless steel ones. The pipes really brightened up the center of the sanctuary.

     We reconfigured the 1’ Great Mixture to a 1 1/3 Mixture by adding new pipes. Behind the center three pipes of the Pedal 16’ Contrabass is a new 8’ Trumpet. We felt the reverse diatonic layout filled in the design and the sound of the Chorus reed put a nice crown on the division. The Swell and Choir divisions are about six feet above the Great on opposite walls. Tuning has always been an issue. Before our work on the instrument, air vents were installed high on the back wall of the chambers with exhaust fans at the base of the chamber doors. One exhaust fan did not work and one of the air vents had no diffuser allowing the heat or air to blow directly on the pipes. There was also no insulation above the rooms. After the church installed two feet of insulation above the chamber ceilings and corrected the fan and diffuser, the divisions stay in pitch together. When we design an environment for an organ, we strive for natural convection air flow. We found in some older installations, keeping the circulating fan on all the time, helps in the tuning stability.

     We went over every pipe in every stop correcting speech and volume, while keeping the original tonal levels. We removed the Great, Swell and Choir division’s bellows and note pouches for leather refurbishing. We were able to do the work in phases, so the congregation would still have an organ through the project. The last major change was adding a new console. Our three manual console has tracker touch keyboards that feel great. We also added an ICS-4000 software based organ control system that has all the features!

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