Chino United Methodist Church

Article excerpt




In the summer of 2007, we were contacted by this church to assess the condition of their early Kimball organ after it and the building were damaged by an arsonist's fire.

Although the Kimball did have a pleasant sound, it was difficult to tune and maintain. The organ's installation was at best compromised in order to fit the instrument in the available small space. The Kimball also featured converted electropneumatic main chests, using the original tubular-pneumatic main chests from the early 1900s. The way this was done made it almost impossible to adjust the chests when required. Later additions were stuffed into the chambers, further complicating access.

Needless to say, the organ had suffered heavy fire damage; however, some of the metal pipes, and even one rank of the wood pipes, were worthy of restoration and reuse in a potential new organ. Early on in the discussion, we involved our friend and fellow organbuilder Steuart Goodwin of San Bernardino, Calif., who is widely known for his tonal work with Schoenstein & Co. Pipe Organ Builders in their restoration of the Mormon Tabernacle organ. From our discussions, we quickly decided that it was time that Chino United Methodist Church should have an organ designed for the room; made from the best materials and components that the available money could buy.

Working with the pastor, trustees, and organist Paul Bishop was a pleasure. They were supportive and provided assistance where needed. We also presented to the trustees our plan to alter the front of the building to provide a visual pipe facade to enhance the look of the sanctuary and enhance the Sam Maloof cross that survived the fire. It also was an ideal place to install the larger pipes of the 8 ' Principal and Pedal Octave to save room.

The stoplist is traditional in design. The windchests are unit-style electropneumatic. The blower and static reservoir are located in the basement. The remainder of the organ is serviced by six wind regulators to ensure solid wind stability.

We were fortunate to find and purchase a 1928 console second-hand. The console was refinished by Bruno Lagarce, who also constructed the new facade. The console's keyboards were restored by Jack Nelson Woodworking of Rhode Island. The manual keys are of polished bone and ebony. The drawknobs and pistons are by Harris Precision Products.

The organ's tonal resources have been augmented digitally by the Walker Technical Corporation. Walker also provided the organ's reliable keying system. New pipes were constructed to our specification by A.R. Schopp's Sons of Alliance, Ohio.

The organ features four 16' ranks, two of which are full length, and a new principal chorus in the Great. We also repurposed existing pipes from the Kimball organ, or purchased new pipes. The organ was tonally finished by Steuart Goodwin and Ryan Ballantyne. …