Southeast Minnesota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists

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Happenings with instruments around the southeast Minnesota region.
  • 17 May 2017 4:13 PM | Matthew Lehman (Administrator)

    In April 2017, a small pipe organ was installed in the chapel of Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester.  It is a two-manual (2 keyboards and pedal) organ with 4 ranks (sets) of pipes.  It was originally built as Opus 1008 by the Arndt-Carlson Organ Company of Ankeny, Iowa and St. Paul Minnesota.  It was built in 1980 specifically for Dr. Dennis C. Johnson, to be used in his home.  After retirement and downsizing, Dr. Johnson and his wife “DJ” offered the organ to Trinity to be used in the chapel.  The organ produces a delightful sound, and is just the right size for the chapel. 


  • 04 Aug 2016 4:32 PM | Matthew Lehman (Administrator)

    Johannus Opus 20 classical digital Organ for sale. $3000 or best offer. Excellent condition.  Moving of the instrument not included in sale price. Please contact Andrew Galuska at orgeldrew@aol.com.  Serious inquiries only.


  • 07 Nov 2012 10:25 PM | Anonymous

    December 2015 Update: 

    Currently, the historic Aeolian Organ at the Mayowood Mansion no longer being used for home tours. The electricity has been turned off to the instrument. This is unfortunate news since our chapter members spent hours restoring parts of it for the tours. Discussion is underway about restoring the instrument to its grandeur. To accomplish such an enormous task, a generous donor or donors are needed to fund the project. 


    November 2012

    Chapter members are currently volunteering to play the Aeolian Organ at the Mayowood Mansion in rural Rochester. (If you haven't signed up, there are still many open time slots; contact the chapter Dean, Sebastian).

    Extensive work has been done recently on parts of the organ and this work needs to be understood. Last year at this time, we had to withdraw from playing at the mansion because the organ blower/motor bearing were going bad. The bearings were replaced this summer and the motor re-built; no small task. In addition, asbestos abatement work was begun this past summer throughout the house. For the organ, this meant removal of all the pipework from the main chamber so that work could be done on heating pipes that went through the chamber. This was done, and the pipework was replaced and tuned in both the main and the echo chambers. This, too, was no small task. So the organ plays and is in tune, but many of the wiring issues remain because this has not yet been dealt with. Thus, we need to continue to work around some dead notes and other anomalies that are the result of 100 year old wiring and switching. How the wiring and switching is going to be dealt with remains to be seen, but for now, the organ is playing from both chambers and we can do what we are asked to do for the tours.

  • 21 Jul 2012 8:51 PM | Anonymous

    Never say never. These are the words coming from the relieved people on the organ committee at Christ United Methodist Church, Rochester. After many months of work and discernment, a contract has been signed with Wicks Organ Company to rebuild the pipe organ at Christ United. The organ will be removed to Illinois right after Easter. The span of work will take from 10 to 12 months before the instrument is re-installed.

    The new console at Christ United Methodist Church, Rochester. Photo taken on October 3, 2015 during the Downtown Rochester Organ Crawl.


  • 21 Jul 2012 8:39 PM | Anonymous
    Come join us for our February 16, 2013 program and see and hear our newest pipe organ in town, a 1/3 portativ built by Giuttari and Bennett of Rehobeth, Massachusetts. This little organ resides in the chapel at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Rochester. The pipes are all constructed of wood and have very gentle sound.  April Beckman of Redeemer will tell us about the acquisition of this organ and another member of our chapter, Andrew Galuska, will also reflect on the shop in Massachusetts, a shop that he once worked at! On the second part of the program on February 16, we will move from Redeemer over to St. John the Evangelist Church to hear the 1/4 portativ in the chapel there. This small organ, built by Reiger-Kloss, has been around a little longer but will be put through some interesting paces at our program.  Plan to join us for Portativs on Parade. April, Andrew, Jeff, Brian, Bob, and Jim are all working hard to prepare an interesting afternoon with these two instruments.
  • 05 Apr 2011 3:52 PM | Anonymous

    A nine-rank instrument built by W. W. Kimball, opus 7121, originally installed Calvary Episcopal Church, Rochester was moved to Emmanuel Church, Rushford, in 1974. This wonderful little organ was damaged several years back by the flooding that hit southeast Minnesota. Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Rushford, which sits on a little higher ground, did sustain damage in the basement from this flooding. The organ, with its vintage switching system and blower in the basement, was rendered unplayable.

    The organ sat silent for about three years until a grant was secured to help finance the reconditioning that was necessary. A team of technicians, selected and guided by Jeff Daehn of Rochester, brought this sturdy little organ back to life. It was used once again beginning at the first mass of Easter 2011. Many people had a hand in tasks surrounding this outcome: Jeff Daehn, project manager; David Grandal, electrical design and installation; Niel Wiegand, electrical work; Herb Mueller and Gene VanCura, woodwork and cabinetry; David Kemmer, keyboard rebuild; Tom Specht, blower unit and winding; and Brian Williams, bookkeeper. We are thankful for the support of Fr. Ben Scott and Sally Scott for their support and efforts to secure the grant for this project.

    Restored Pipe Organ at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Rushford to be Dedicated

    In August, 2007, flood waters destroyed many homes and businesses in the southeast Minnesota community of Rushford. The toxic waters inundated the lower level of the lovely, stone-built Emmanuel Episcopal Church destroying everything to the floor of the nave and sanctuary at the first level. Along with the heating, electrical, and plumbing services and the kitchen and meeting room area, the components for the historic pipe organ located below the organ chamber were lost.

    Generous individual donors, congregations, foundations, and grants rebuilt the entire lower level and the flood related damage to the first level. The pipe organ, however, was excluded from many of these financial contributions. Late in 2010, a family foundation awarded the Rushford Episcopal Church the funds to rebuild its historic pipe organ. Work was completed during 2011 to make the instrument ready for the congregation's Easter celebration.

    The W. W. Kimball instrument had been installed at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in 1974. Built in 1933, its first home was Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Rochester, Minnesota. It served the Rochester Episcopalians until1973 when a Noehren-Harris organ replaced the W. W. Kimball instrument. It was moved from Rochester to Rushford and installed by Gould and Son of St. Paul in the organ chamber that had originally been occupied by an old, mechanical action instrument. The W. W. Kimball was dedicated for the second time in 1974 at Emmanuel Church. The distinguished Minneapolis organist, Howard Don Small, played the dedicatory recital. At its third dedication in 2011 a musical selection from the 1933 program will be included as a prelude.

    The rebuilt organ has been expanded from nine ranks to ten ranks with a solid state switching system. The console has been rebuilt and updated as well as the blower. The wind chest and pipes were not damaged in the flood and are original.

    Choral Evensong commemorating St. Boniface will dedicate the newly restored pipe organ. Brian Williams, Director of Music and the Arts, at Calvary Episcopal Church, Rochester, will direct the Motet Choir from Calvary. With Jeffrey Daehn, Carillonneur at the Mayo Clinic and organ builder, Williams will demonstrate the instrument and provide a tour of how it operates. Choral Evensong is a traditional Anglican service of prayer and praise in many English cathedrals and colleges at the close of day. The dedicatory program has been selected to enhance this Anglican tradition with recently composed music. The newly restored historic pipe organ is regarded by the Rushford Episcopalians as another means of facilitating the congregation's service and mission in future generations. The Venerable Canon Benjamin Scott is officiant at Evensong.

    Choral Evensong and the Dedication of the Restored Pipe Organ is at 4:00 p.m. June 5, 2011, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 217 West Jessie Street, Rushford. A reception follows. Everyone is cordially welcome.

  • 15 Jan 2010 4:03 PM | Anonymous

    Say that five times in a row! Anyway, it is true that the small Möller originally installed in the synagogue on 2nd Street SW, Rochester, and then subsequently in the south Mormon center, has moved to Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church in Byron. The Mormon Church bought a new digital instrument and put the Möller on the market. Lucky for the Byron church, a very satisfactory deal was struck and the Möller moved. At present, this mighty little Möller is being checked out and reassembled. And was it mentioned that it is also being enlarged? A small Tuba stop from a vintage Möller in Michigan is being added to the Mt. Moriah Möller. And, to add to all this, the Mormon Möller in Mount Moriah with the Michigan tuba is being assembled by Matt (Pr. Lehman, that is). Matt Lehman is one of our chapter members, and while he and folks from the congregation are doing most of this work, he is getting some help and advice from Brian Poch and Jeff Daehn. We should start hearing this organ mid-summer. Good luck, Matt!

  • 13 Nov 2007 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Moller organ at Hosanna Lutheran, Rochester, MNA two-manual Möller "Artiste" from 1958 has been acquired by Hosanna Lutheran Church in Rochester. This little pipe organ is getting a thorough going-over prior to its installation. The work is being supervised by Jeffrey Daehn. Congregation members are heavily involved in many of the restoration tasks. The organ will be upgraded using a new Syndyne relay. More information can be found at Hosanna Lutheran Church.

    Completion is expected by Easter 2008.

  • 16 Apr 2004 2:24 PM | Anonymous

    This past summer a number of new pipe additions, together with a new Positiv division, have been added to the Reuter Organ at Rochester's Congregational Church. When the church's instrument was installed in 1990, needed funds were not available for a complete three-manual organ, but two SE MN AGO members - Marian Block, the church's organist for over thirty-five years, and Eric Hepp, associate organist - wisely consoled the congregation to prepare for an instrument of their dreams. With the appointment of "Jeff" Davis as head organist in the Fall of 2000, fund raising for completing the organ was begun in earnest under the joint leadership of both Marian and Eric.

    Concert performs on the Hinners at Madonna Towers, Rochester, MNNot only have many new pipes been added to the instrument, but an updated multi-level combination system and "tracker touch" keying action have also been added.

    The newly installed pipes have doubled the instrument's foundation and softer tonal colors, together with a beautiful French 8' Flute harmonique for the Great Organ. Stops controlled from unit chests were greatly expanded to play on additional divisions at various pitches, which included the Swell 16' Fagot being able to play at 32' pitch and the Flute harmonique to play at 2' pitch in the Pedal.

    Steve Barnhardt, Minneapolis representative for Reuter, was in charge of the installation and was assisted by Eric Hepp. William Klimas, vice-president and tonal director of Reuter completed the instrument's tonal finishing.

    The recently enlarged organ can be heard on Sunday, May 16, at 4:00 p.m. in a concert to be given by Peter DuBois, Rochester, New York.

  • 02 Mar 2004 6:18 PM | Anonymous

    Hinners organ at its new location at Madonna Towers, Rochester, MNOn March 2, the chapter gathered for a program to honor a 100-year-old pipe organ, Hinners Opus 537, a one-manual tracker organ of 9 ranks. This organ had been housed in Wisconsin in two churches before coming to Rochester where it was played at Good Shepherd for about 17 years. In 2002 the organ was sold and moved to Madonna Towers Retirement Community where the instrument now resides in the chapel. The pipe organ, rebuilt in 1985, survived a close encounter with oblivion after having been stored in pieces for about 16  years in a Wisconsin parsonage. That the little organ can still sing merrily forth is a testament to its initial quality and durability of materials.



    Concert performs on the Hinners at Madonna Towers, Rochester, MNOn hand for the celebration was Michael Barone, president of the Organ Historical Society. Michael shared some history about the Hinners Organ Company plus a few whimsical observations to boot. At the recital part of the evening, music was presented by Jeff Daehn, Chapter Dean, Bob Hachmesiter, past Dean, Brian Williams, Sub-Dean, Dean Robsinson, Treasurer, and Cynthia McLaren, Board Member. The evening was enjoyed by many residents of Madonna Towers and by friends from the Rochester community at large. Of particular interest among the Towers residents enjoying the evening were two "young" ladies who were both older than the organ.

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