A project 10-years in the making is finally coming to fruition as a new custom four-manual combination pipe and digital Allen organ was delivered to the First United Methodist Church this week.
Taking more than six months to build and weighing over 1,000lbs, the new console was too large to fit through the doors to the sanctuary and had to be craned up into the church.
“It took lots of planning and lots of strength to get the console from street level to the sanctuary but we did it,” said the church online.
Installed in 1924, much of the original organ and pipes still exist, however the new console will create digital access making it a combination digital and pipe organ.
“Everything prior to this was analog with the console controlling the pipes through analog signal but now it will be controlled through digital,” said organist Arvin Starrett. “We’ve also added many digital voices to the organ that didn’t exist prior.”
Starrett explained that the console controls a number of divisions including Swell, Great, Choir, Antiphonal, and Pedal as well as a new Solo division that will be added.
“Every organ is different but when completed, this instrument will have the equivalent of over 5,000 pipes, digital pipes included,” said Starrett. “We are also planning on recalling the antiphonal organ at the rear of the sanctuary that hasn’t been functional for over 20 years.”
While many were involved with the project, Starrett said the late Francis Ellis, who was a lifelong member of the church, left a trust to the church for the upkeep and maintenance of the organ which significantly helped this project.
Members of the church and the public will have the opportunity to hear the new instrument for the first time on Easter Sunday with an Inaugural Organ Concert being held on May 7 at 4 p.m. featuring one of the most sought after and revered international concert organists of the present time, Maestro Hector Olivera.
Most famous for his prodigious technical proficiency and charismatic stage presence, Mr. Olivera’s amazing effect on audiences has made many of the most sophisticated and demanding organ aficionados claim that Maestro Hector Olivera is “one of the greatest organists in the world today.”
The event is open to the public and free of charge.
First United Methodist Church is located at 322 Lamar Avenue in downtown Paris.
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