Good Shepherd Episcopal Church removes its organ; replacement to come in 2013

ctruman@herald-leader.comJune 13, 2012 

While it would seem to the layman that organs, even those in soaring Gothic-inspired churches more than 80 years old, might be fairly easy to remove and replace, that layman would be wrong.

Extremely wrong.

The removal of the organ at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 533 East Main Street, is an operation that requires a substantial work force and painstaking care, with each bit and tube carefully packed. The silver tubes, laid side by side, have a surprising heft and look a bit like mini-missiles.

While some pieces of the old organ will be used to build the new one, other pieces might be offered as part of a church fund-raiser.

The $1.4 million project to remove and replace the organ with a more powerful model will require some waiting on the part of the 750 Good Shepherd members. The new organ will be installed beginning in January, according to church organist and choirmaster John Linker.

Good Shepherd has raised $1.3 million of the total needed.

Goulding & Wood Organ Co. of Indianapolis is building the new organ. The current Holloway organ is 42 years old, Linker said. Organs generally begin to need repair at 50, he said.

While musicians can explain more of the subtleties involved in a really top-notch organ, to the musically unschooled having a better instrument means this: a more complex, layered sound.

Said Linker: "It will have a greater sense of versatility, a much wider range of color."

The new organ will be "an ambassador for the church" when visitors from other congregations and faiths attend concerts at Good Shepherd, Linker said.

The Rev. Brian Cole, who came to Good Shepherd less than three months ago from Asheville, N.C., said that choral music with organ accompaniment is a strong tradition in the Episcopal church and a major component of the overall worship experience.

"What I find encouraging about the people of Good Shepherd is that they were willing to take on this project before the new rector arrived," Cole said. "They're committed in every season. It's the roots and grounding that we encounter in good Anglican worship that keeps our eyes open."

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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