Monday, April 16, 2012
Help Revitalize the Historic Skinner Organ of First Congregational Church
E. M. Skinner Opus 751 was dedicated in 1929. Other than routine maintenance and cleaning, the organ remained untouched for thirty years. The organ was enlarged mid-1960s during an “organ reform” movement that caused several unsympathetic changes. Following a fire in the early 1970s that destroyed the original console and Echo chamber, a new console was built. Mechanical problems have plagued the organ for several years resulting from the deterioration of leather, the buildup of dirt and residue, and less than sterling craftsmanship following the 1973 fire. Although the organ at First Congregational Church can sound wonderful, there is significant leakage of air, some ranks of pipes and working parts do not operate, some notes don’t play at all or do so intermittently, some notes stick (or “cipher”), and the physically deteriorating console functions with little reliability.
The aim of the $500,000 dollar project is to restore the organ with the highest standard of integrity, maintaining the tonal character of the 1920s, so that it will grace worship and musical outreach for the next century and rekindle First Congregational Church’s commitment to neighborhood and community renewal in Saginaw’s Cathedral District.
Donations of all sizes will make this project a reality. Members of the First Congregational Church, Friends of Music, and other patrons from throughout the country are asked to make generous offerings to support this project, one that benefits the congregation’s worship life, outreach, benevolence, and stewardship of property. A family who chooses to sponsor the pipe organ revitalization project will be honored as the instrument patron. As an organ donor, you or your nominee can “adopt a pipe” and receive an attractive commemorative certificate signed by the Organ Committee leadership. You will also be recorded as an organ donor in a handsomely bound record and in commemorative literature. Major donors (over $2500) will have their names displayed on a commemorative tablet, which will be unveiled in the sanctuary when the project is complete.
For more information about becoming an organ donor or for a full-color project information brochure, please contact Nicholas E. Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, at the church office center, (989) 754-6565.