Pipe Organ Restoration
CASAVANT FRÈRES PIPE ORGAN, OPUS 3339 (1977)
Help Us to Restore This Treasure of an Instrument, for the Greater Glory of God
We are inviting all parishioners to make an offering to the Organ Restoration Fund and a prayer intention to St. Cecelia for the restoration of our Casavant Frères Pipe Organ, Op. 3339. This pipe organ was generously donated in 1977 by Constance Kucewicz, Dorothy Luzi, Alice Amell, and Chester G. Motyka in memory of George W. and Nellie Motyka. Since then, it has accompanied our choirs and lifted our souls to God.
However, being used weekly for 45 years, our pipe organ is in dire need of repair and restoration.
Two updates are included below. The April 18th update details all of the work needed to be done, and the November 23rd update provides an exciting look at the work completed so far. May God reward you for your generosity!
NOVEMBER 23, 2022 UPDATE
On Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022, organ firm Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. of Northampton, MA returned to Sts. Peter and Paul Church and re-installed a completely restored Swell Expression Motor and Organ Console Rolltop. This was an exciting day, as both the Swell Expression Motor and Rolltop had been broken for several years. The first Mass during which the Swell Expression was used was the Thanksgiving Day Mass, and several parishioners noted the gradual increase and decrease of sound.
Both of these items required custom repairs done by the master craftsmen in the repair shop of Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc:
Swell Expression Motor: Several unique parts on the inside of this motor needed to be completely replaced, sanded down, re-leathered. The interior of this motor functions as bellows system which activates a series of pullies. Once the repairs were done at the shop in Northampton, the entire motor then needed to be tested under wind pressure (to ensure it could function properly under pressure) before its return to Sts. Peter and Paul Church.
Rolltop: The craftsmen at Czelusniak et Dugal took apart the rolltop completely, piece by piece. A new canvas was needed underneath the wooden parts, as the canvas had ripped. Each wooden piece was numbered in order, sanded down by hand, refinished, and then glued to a new piece of canvas in its original order to ensure smooth use.
The following photos show the progression of installation of the Swell Expression Motor into the organ cabinet:
(1) The motor after it was brought up to the choir loft.
(3) The motor after it was moved into the cabinet and re-installed. Once the motor was brought inside the organ cabinet, it was then moved to the back of the cabinet. From there, it was re-connected to the black wind pipe (on the left), and screwed it into the floor and wall of the cabinet. It was important to make sure all of the screws were in very tightly, because the exterior of the swell expression motor needs to be stationary, while the interior bellows system needs to move. Without being secured properly, the motor could come loose.
(2) The motor was moved up to the shelf before it was moved into the cabinet. The opening on the right-hand side is where it was next brought inside the cabinet.
(4) Lastly, the leathered bellows inside of the swell expression motor needed to be connected to the wire above. This wire extends upward, where it continues over two pulleys, and finally connects to the swell shades above.
This wire is what the bellows move up or down, which in turn controls the opening/closing of the shades.
(5) Once the Swell Expression Motor was connected and secured, it was tested. This video shows the movement of the shades as the organ plays. The opening/closing of these shades allows for gradual increase/decrease of sound without adding or subtracting pipes.
(6) The fully-restored console rolltop, as seen from behind the bench.
APRIL 18, 2022 UPDATE
On Monday, April 18th, 2022, the organ firm Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. of Northampton, MA came to Divine Mercy Parish to service our Casavant-Frères Pipe Organ, Opus 3339. Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. has first-hand knowledge of our Casavant organ, as they built and installed it back in 1977. On April 18th, they made several repairs on our organ console, on an organ pipe, adjustments on the tremolo function, did some tuning of the pipes, and also diagnosed several remaining issues which need repair. Below is a list of needed repairs, including some price estimates as well.
The total estimate for #1-2 is around $15,500; these are the most imperative repairs. #3 is estimated around $1000. #4 will need to happen once #1 and #2 are completed, and #5 is included to give a full scope of what the organ needs to restore it to its former glory.
1. Broken Swell Expression Motor: Our organ has a broken swell expression motor which must be repaired first. The cost for this repair is $5,500. When working, the swell expression motor enables a series of wooden shades to open or close. Behind these wooden shades are located several sets of pipes known as the “swell division” of the organ. When open, these wooden shades allow the pipes' sounds to travel freely from the box into the sanctuary. When closed, most of the sound is contained in the box. When functional, the moveable shades provide a means of gradually adjusting the loudness of the sound: crescendo (gradual increase of volume) and decrescendo (gradual decrease of volume). (Fixed and reinstalled 11/23/22)
2. Leaning Pipes: Our organ has several pipes within the "swell division" which are leaning. This is the most urgent repair and is estimated at around $10,000.
Over time, these pipes have begun to lean because they are made of zinc, which is a soft metal. Because the pipes have been leaning for quite some time and because of their zinc material, the pipes have also dented as a result of leaning. The dents are towards the bottom of each pipe. In order to be repaired, these pipes will have to be cut just above the dented area and the zinc metal will have to be replaced with a stronger metal, such as copper (so that the pipes no longer lean).
Another problem with the leaning pipes is that they are not making any sound. Because these pipes are leaning, the air isn't lined up correctly with each pipe and therefore, no sound is produced from these pipes.
Furthermore, this is a time-sensitive repair: the leaning/dented pipes are leaning on other pipes next to them (which currently play). However, the problem is that if this repair is deferred, these other pipes would begin to lean and they too would dent. So, repairing the leaning/dented pipes is really a time-sensitive repair so that more pipes are not dented and in need of repair (which would be a lot more expensive).
3. Broken Organ Console Rolltop: The rolltop of the organ console, which protects the console when it is not being played, has ripped apart (due to a long period of disuse) and is in need of repair. It is estimated between $800 and $1000. (Fixed and reinstalled 11/23/22)
4. Tuning: The organ will also need tuning after these repairs. Most recently, in April 2022, a day of organ tuning cost $1,325.
5. Chimes: Several parishioners have inquired about the chimes which used to sound within the church, and were played on the organ keyboard. A new chime system could be installed, but we do not yet have an estimate.
During our most recent organ tuning, an inquiry was made about the repair of these chimes. The former interior chime system was a wired system which transmitted the sound of the carillon bells from the steeple through a speaker inside the church. When lightning struck our church steeple in late Summer 2018, the carillon system was damaged and was replaced with an entirely different system (which is not engineered to play the bell sounds inside the church). When asked about the repair of this system, Bill Czelusniak from Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. gave us hope.
"The study, and cost, and adaptation of the electronic carillon system (even if pre-existing) seems complicated and expensive to me at this juncture. Currently, our Firm is planning another pipe organ rebuilding, which has included Chimes, but which the current Client wishes to abandon. Therefore, we would have a very good set of actual striking Chimes tubes that we could look to engineer into this instrument. Finding good placement for the tubes and action probably will be harder than wiring them in to the existing console switching.”
So, in short, a new set of real struck chimes could be engineered into our existing Casavant-Frères pipe organ. But, we do not yet have an estimate for the chimes as #1 (broken swell expression motor) and #2 (leaning/dented pipes) must be repaired first.
Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. hopes to come back to our parish to do these repairs in Fall 2022.
Lastly, some photos which show some needed repairs:
Broken swell expression motor (the motor itself is broken and needs to be replaced. Seen in this image, the inside of the motor has a set of bellows, but the bellows are currently detached as well).
Leaning pipes in the “swell division” of the organ. Two images of the leaning pipes can be seen below - one as pictured, and the second with the leaning pipes marked.