American Organ Institute,
University of Oklahoma,
Trinity Lutheran Church,
Built in 1909, this Hinners organ was originally installed in the Eighth Street Methodist Church in Oklahoma City and is believed to be one of the first pipe organs installed in Oklahoma. The bombing of the nearby Murrah Federal Building in 1995, along with water damage and wear, made the organ unusable by the time the church converted the building’s primary function to be the home of Skyline Urban Ministries. John Schwandt, director of the American Organ Institute (AOI) at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, arranged for the organ to be removed and put in storage, awaiting restoration at the AOI shop if a new home for it could be found. Under the careful leadership of Pastor David Nehrenz, Trinity Lutheran Church in Norman decided to purchase the organ and to become that new home.
At the AOI shop, the full-time staff along with students in the organ technology program lovingly restored as many of the existing parts as possible. Pieces that had been damaged beyond reliable repair were replaced with new, replicating the old. The reservoir and feeder bellows were completely releathered, as were the pallets of the slider windchests. All bushings on the keyboards, squares, and other action parts were replaced, along with any broken trackers.
As one of the Hinners Organ Company’s stock model instruments, the organ had been made with casework for both sides, which had then been removed or substantially altered to install it in a partial chamber. In its new home, the organ would be freestanding, requiring suitable casework on either side. Using details from some surviving pieces of casework, completely new sides were designed and built to match the front casework that remains unchanged. The façade pipes were stripped and repainted with an elegant pale gold color.
One of the great assets of the AOI program is the opportunity to bring in experts from the organbuilding community for some aspects of a particular project. Not only does this yield excellent work, it also allows students to learn details by working directly with a master. On this project, the windchest retabling and pallet restoration were accomplished by Brad Rule from Tennessee. Releathering of the large double-rise reservoir and feeder bellows was done by Richard Nickerson of Massachusetts.
The Great 2′ Super Octave replaces the original 8′ Dulciana (from tenor C), which shared 12 basses with the 8′ Melodia. New bass holes were drilled in the chest for the Super Octave. The Dulciana pipes were carefully wrapped and stored in the organ for future restoration, if desired.
The entire organ was assembled in the shop for testing before being dismantled and transported to the church for final installation. On its final weekend in the shop, the AOI welcomed church members and the community for an open house celebration. Several students played pieces, and the entire group joined in hearty hymn singing. The organ was delivered on November 28, 2017, was used for the first time in worship on the evening of December 19, and was dedicated with a recital by Silviya Mateva on February 11, 2018. Evan Bellas, a graduate student at the AOI and part of the restoration team, is organist and choir director of Trinity Lutheran Church.
The staff and students of the American Organ Institute are proud to have had a part in bringing this instrument back to life and reinforcing the role of the pipe organ in Oklahoma.
—Fredrick Bahr, Shop Manager
8′ Open Diapason (61 pipes; 1–27 zinc in façade; 28–61 metal)
8′ Melodia (61 pipes; 1–12 stopped wood; 13–49 open wood; 50–61 metal)
4′ Principal (61 pipes; 1–7 zinc; 8–61 metal)
2′ Super Octave (61 pipes; metal)
8′ Violin Diapason (61 pipes; 1–19 zinc; 20–61 metal)
8′ Salicional (TC, 49 pipes; 1–12 common with Lieblich Gedackt; 13–19 zinc; 20–61 metal)
8′ Lieblich Gedackt (61 pipes; 1–49 stopped wood; 50–61 open metal)
4′ Flute Dolce (61 pipes; 1–7 zinc; 8–61 metal)
16′ Bourdon (30 pipes; wood)
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell to Great 4
Balanced Swell expression shoe
MF combination pedal (draws Melodia, Salicional, and Gedeckt, double-acting)
FF combination pedal (draws all manual stops, single-acting)
Mechanical key and stop action
Wind pressure 4 inches