Renovated pipe organ returns to Suffolk UCC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2002

The newly renovated 189-pipe organ at Suffolk Christian Church has just returned from Lithonia, Ga., after a yearlong makeover. Now the church is sponsoring events to cover the cost and one of those activities is an eight-section cookbook with 600 recipes from the Suffolk Christian Church congregation entitled, &uot;From Our Home to Yours.&uot;

According to Talmadge Darden, music director, the organ had worn out and a new console was installed in the 60s but it was so old and had never been totally renovated.

&uot;After the organ was removed, there were two big holes left in the wall which were also renovated and insulated,&uot; said Darden. &uot;Now the organ has returned with its original pipes plus some new ones and an enlarged instrument. A new console was added and instead of two manuals we now have three – Great, Swell and Choir. The Choir Pipe is a computerized one with digital stops.&uot;


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Darden presented a &uot;State of the Organ&uot; report to the church conference in October 2000. At that time he reminded the conference of the condition of the organ and emphasized the need for looking at making the necessary renovations and repairs. He also reported that the music committee felt that it would need a professional independent consultant to guide them in the process and to seek proposals and understanding of the various proposals received. The church conference then authorized the music committee to move forward with plans for the renovation and to seek proposals for the restoration of the historic pipe organ.

At the church conference in February 2001, the music committee reported that it had hired Daniel L. Angerstein to assist them and to oversee their organ restoration. Angerstein was recommended by Suffolk Christian’s own organ repairman, Lee Hendricks, who had worked with him on the renovation of the Moller Organ at Main Street United Methodist Church and felt that he would be able to guide Suffolk Christian’s committee in the process of their organ renovation.

Angerstein is an independent worker and worked along with A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company in Lithonia, Ga. The company contracted to do the work. The 23 ranks of pipes in the organ were increased to 26 ranks. A harp and chimes were also added to the new Choir division that was included with Walker digital stops which also included custom voiced for the organ.

Along with the organ renovation, the church made some repairs and upgraded the organ pipe chambers. New lighting and insulating of the walls were also done.

The Rev. Michael Halley said that they are delighted that they were able to preserve many elements from their original pipe organ.

&uot;We now have a modern instrument which will serve the people of God for many generations,&uot; Halley said.

The total renovation costs over $350,000 and the church is raising money through many projects. The cookbook is now on sale. To purchase one, call the church office at 539-9182. Another fund-raising activity will take place in spring which will be an Antiques and Collectibles Auction.