The basis of the renovated pipe organ was built in 1975 by Schantz Organ Company and installed in the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Akron, Ohio. In 1989, we relocated the entire instrument to its new home in the balcony of Saint Michael Catholic Church of Worthington, Ohio.
The organ was typical of many instruments of this era, and the limitations of the conservative style of voicing and design were apparent. Because St. Michael’s sanctuary is larger than the organ’s former home, we expected the sound to get somewhat lost in the vast acoustic, understanding that the vision to purchase this organ laid the groundwork for the future.
To overcome the tonal challenge, a comprehensive approach to the tonal renovation was necessary. All flue pipes were re-voiced to fully sound, as they should in such an expansive room. Reed stops were replaced with more broadly scaled and voiced pipes. Several ranks of pipes were added to fill out the sound, both to support congregational singing and to add excitement to the overall sound. Especially notable is the horizontal brass Trompette en Chamade. While retaining the French nomenclature typically associated with horizontal Trumpets, this stop is voiced as an English Tuba. It possesses a round, unforced character, can be used as a solo trumpet, and is intended as the triumphant culmination of the full organ sound.
Also as part of this project, the console was completely renovated and the operating system of the organ was upgraded to solid state. New, quieter blowers were installed and the organ was cleaned. Non-speaking pipes were added to the façade, and a Zimbelstern was installed.
It was a joy to bring this instrument to its full potential as an integral part of the worship life for the parishioners of Saint Michael Church. Now able to fully express the emotion, color, and depth of music in worship, we hope that it does so for generations.