I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, the organ still works. The bad news is that much of the organ doesn’t work, and the portions that do work could soon fail and result in an organ that’s completely unusable. Last fall, Andrea and I began seeking a new maintenance company to service St. Paul’s pipe organ. The company we had been using for 15+ years was becoming increasingly unreliable and it was time to sever ties with them and find one that could better suit or needs. Through research and several recommendations we began working with J.L. Weiler, Inc., a company that not only maintains but also restores pipe organs.
Jeff Weiler is the president of J.L. Weiler, Inc. and does a significant amount of the legwork for the company, traveling all over the United States, Canada, and Europe to oversee numerous projects. Mr. Weiler has made several trips to St. Paul’s, on occasion accompanied by Simon Couture, the Vice President of Casavant Frères, the builders of our organ. Upon inspection of our organ both Mr. Weiler and Mr. Couture brought to our attention several serious problems. Mr. Weiler suggested a full evaluation of the organ so we could then have a clearer idea of what we were dealing with and how we should address the issues.
A few of Mr. Weiler’s findings include the following:
In light of their assessment of St. Paul’s organ, both Jeff Weiler and Simon Couture recommended that we immediately begin looking into replacing St. Paul’s failing organ. Because of the organ’s poor installation 30 years ago, combined with the myriad of problems the organ suffers from now, restoration of our organ would not be cost-effective and the results, disappointing. In fact, this echoes the opinion that was expressed back in 1992 when then-organist Fred Krieger considered plans to completely replace the organ.
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