Magazine article The Christian Century

Church Closings Leave Glut of Unclaimed Pipe Organs

Magazine article The Christian Century

Church Closings Leave Glut of Unclaimed Pipe Organs

Article excerpt

A 112-year-old pipe organ in the sanctuary of a now-closed church needs a new home. The $500,000 instrument is in good condition and free--if you can pay $10,000 to $30,000 to remove it from the old West Nashville United Methodist Church and reassemble it.

The 1905 George Kilgen and Son pipe organ is far from unique in needing to be relocated. About 450 other pipe organs are available across the United States, and demand for them is slight, said John Bishop, executive director of the Boston-based Organ Clearing House, which helps save high-quality pipe organs from abandonment or destruction.

"If I have 450 organs listed and I can place 20 a year, I'm doing very well," Bishop said. "It's a shame to see something like a pipe organ, especially a good one in good condition, go without a use.... But unless there's somewhere active to put it and real interest in funding it, organs like that very, very frequently wind up in dumpsters. …

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