J.H. & C.S. Odell, Pipe Organ Builders

Distinctive and refined instruments for worship

In the summer of 2001, we were getting calls from a man named Ken Stark about this organ. Ken had been quietly slaving over this instrument, whose pipes had been removed for the loudspeakers for a now-ailing Allen .

Fortunately, the pipes had been saved, though over the years they had been severely damaged.

Ken, a retired engineer, knew nothing of pipe organs, but somehow managed to sort the organ pipes and reassemble the organ mechanically. As soon as we saw the interior of the organ we knew that all the pipes had to come back to the shop. Almost every facade pipe had it's ears knocked off and scrolls ripped out. According to Ken, most of the pipes had been stored under the organ, and in the process many had been bent, broken, and in some cases, completely flattened. It is probably some of the worst damage we had ever seen. In some cases entirely new languids had to be made.

Through the generosity of our friends at Austin and the skills of their pipemakers, we were able to do all the repairs that were needed. Holly spent countless hours with each rank on the voicing machine getting everything back into balance. Experienced with working over "pre-enjoyed pipes", during the job Holly frequently remarked on the superb craftsmanship of the Robjohn preparation work. On the undamaged pipes the cutups were straight and smooth, and the quality of the pipemaking was excellent.

Once the facade pipes were ready, we returned them to Ken. Ken, with assistance from other parishioners and guidance from pipe-stenciling expert Kristin Farmer, reproduced the original stencil pattern from traces of the stripped pipes.

While work on the facade continued, we continued with the repairs and revoicing. All of the pipes were washed, fitted with new stainless-steel tuning slides, and when we returned them to the church, we tonally re-finished the organ, doing our best to preserve the original sound as much as possible.

Odell opus 253, 1888, Reformed Church of Hyde Park, New York