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Southeast Minnesota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists

1933 Kimball Restored in Rushford, Minnesota

05 Apr 2011 3:52 PM | Dawn Daehn (Administrator)

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.

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