We received a call in November 2014 about tuning the chapel organ at St. Paul Seminary, which trains priests for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Given that liturgies followed an academic (as well as liturgical) schedule, we were told there was no great urgency, and so we went in early January 2015. The organ, a small Möller possibly dating from the 1940’s that had been moved to the chapel in the 1980’s, was in middling mechanical condition — most of it worked okay, although the flexible hose feeding wind from the blower was a mess, and leaked like a sieve. We made a few quick repairs and tuned as well as possible. The rector also asked for a quote to add a set of swell shutters to the current “case,” as the organ was sometimes overpowering in the small room.

We next heard from diocesan authorities in April 2015, inviting me to a start-up meeting regarding the impending chapel renovations! Fortunately, I didn’t need to point out that the organ would have to be completely removed before any renovations could begin, and we brought it back to the shop in early May. We verified that the pouch leather should still have several decades of life remaining. We cleaned the main windchest, as well as the four offset chests on which the bass pipes stood in a niche behind the organ; all chests received new cabling including plugs, with fuses added as required or prudent. The reservoir was cleaned, and all metal ducts were also cleaned and painted. A new eccentric-weight tremulant was added to the top of the reservoir.

A new case of walnut was designed and built as well, incorporating shutters on the front and hinged or removable panels for easy access when servicing; the open frame back allows maximum tonal egress from the niche. The shutters are moved by a silent electric motor, and LED lighting mounted to the ceiling of the case provides abundant light when tuning. The case sits on a movable base, with multiple casters allowing it to be moved out easily if necessary (we didn’t realize the old “case” was on wheels until we removed it!), and was finished to match the existing console. The new case is a tasteful addition to the renovated chapel, and the rejuvenated organ should serve the liturgy of the seminary for decades to come.

GREAT (Manual I, C1-c61)

Diapason 8’ (C1-B12 synthetic)
Gedeckt 8’
Viola 8’
Octave 4’ (ext.)
Flute 4’ (ext.)
Viola 4’ (ext.)
Twelfth 223’ (ext.)
Fifteenth 2’ (ext.)
Chimes (not installed)
Swell to Great

SWELL (Manual II, C1-c61)

Gedeckt 8’ (GR)
Viola 8’ (GR)
Flute 4’ (GR)
Viola 4’ (GR)
Nazard 223’ (ext.)
Flautino 2’ (ext.)

PEDAL (C1-g32, AGO)

Bourdon 16’ (ext.)
Gedeckt 8’ (GR)
Viola 8’ (GR)
Quint 513’ (GR)
Octave 4’ (GR)
Flute 4’ (GR)