Chestermere HS

1930 Frank Legge Organ for Chestermere High School Band Program

 

The genesis of this project started in 2015 with the urgent call from a family in Calgary that had to remove a pipe organ that their father had installed in his basement in the 1970’s. The house was slated for demolishing to build a new in-fill, and the organ had to go to a good home.

 

Originally built for a funeral home in Calgary, the organ was being donated by the family to the Chestermere High School Band Program. After a few years of trying to finalize a location in the school, it was decided that the best place was in the large band room, which can double as a small performance space as needed.

 

The 2 manual and pedal instrument is of unit design employing 4 ranks and chimes. A new Opus 2 control system will be used to control the pipe organ. Opus 2 is a Canadian Company based in Ottawa and their systems have been used to control the two largest pipe organs in the world.

This project is a community engagement project for Barnsley Pipe Organs. Jason believes in giving back to the community as much as possible. He is currently leading a group of Band Parents through the process of re-wiring and restoring parts of the organ to get it working.

Completion: Summer 2020

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church

1905 Carl Barckhoff Organ Restoration

Check out pictures of the restoration in the Project Gallery

This instrument was originally built in 1905 for a church in Nebraska. It was moved up to Calgary in the late 1950's by the then organist of the church Mr. Robert Hooper. Over the next decade or so, Mr. Hooper made tonal changes to reflect the tastes of the era, bringing the organ in sync with the baroque organ reform movement that was sweeping North America. Whether advised or not, Mr. Hooper was a hobbyist organ technician, and several mistakes were made when setting up the organ, and when making the tonal changes. It has been the task of Barnsley Pipe Organs to correct some of these mistakes and make general repairs to the organ to keep it functioning for the next 100 years.

In 2016, Jason undertook a full restoration of the keying action, replacing brittle, dry trackers with new ones, made from wood of the same vintage as the organ. He repaired much of the manual pipe work, fitting collars on pipes that were once cone-tuned so that they could be easily tuned. He also rebuilt the pedal board and the manual key desk to incorporate the tonal additions that Mr. Hooper had made to the pedal department.

Unfortunately the winter of 2016-2017 was particularly brutal with over 6 extended weeks of -30C temperatures. With the heating plants running constantly as they do at those temperatures, the organ got cooked with high heat and extremely low humidity. This caused the table to crack and separate from the grid, which caused several notes to play at once. This is considered a catastrophic failure of the organ and there was no choice but to rebuild the chests.

In May 2019 we began disassembling the organ once again. The previous work is not affected, and will be reconnected upon completion of the chest rebuild. The old tables will be routed off, and new tables, made of high grade multi-ply wood will be manufactured and applied to the chest grid. Completion of this work will allow for a few judicious alterations to the layout to be made to make corrections to the changes made in the 1960's. The layout of the Great was designed originally to be inside a case, not exposed like the current configuration, which meant they were not in the optimal configuration for tuning, or speech. The corrected layout will see that the ranks progress from highest to lowest pitches from front to back. An 8' Open Diapason will be added back to the Great as the original was removed in the 1960's. In the Swell, the swell enclosure has been enlarged for better tuning and service egress, which will allow for full length basses of the 8' Salicional to be installed. In the 1960's a Larigot 1-1/3' was added. This will be removed to add a TC Voix Celeste.

Completion: May 2020

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