Chapel Gets a "New" Pipe Organ
by Drew A. Worthen
In 2010 I moved from my home state of Arkansas to attend grad school at Butler University in Indianapolis. A few days after moving to Indy, I met the most beautiful girl - who inevitably became my lovely wife, Sarah, who also happens to be a very gifted pianist. On our second date, I took Sarah for a tour around Indianapolis to play various pipe organs that I had been given access to. What else is an organ nerd like myself meant to do to try and impress a girl!? We went to 2nd Presbyterian to play the big Aeolian-Skinner, Sweeney Chapel to play the Holtkamp tracker, and ultimately back to school to play the only pipe organ on Butler's campus (sadly), a little 3-rank Wicks in one of the practice rooms. Some years later, Sarah confessed to me, that apparently that organ tour was the moment she "knew" there was to be something life-long between us. (Unbeknownst to me! I was still completely clueless!)
Anyway, fast forward a decade to July of 2020. I now work full time for a technology company, and one of our customers is Butler University. We do all of their technology solutions for classrooms, lecture halls, etc. I happened to have the master set of keys to the music building one day and thought I'd go check on the old Wicks, only to discover that it was GONE, sadly. That VERY WEEKEND, Sarah and I made a trip to Ohio to pick up some parts for another project I was working on, and upon walking into the gentleman's house, I saw a little Wicks pipe organ, without its case.
I said to the owner, "I used to play a similar little Wicks when I was a student at Butler." The guy said, "oh yeah, this is it."
What are the odds!?
As we pulled out of the driveway headed for home, Sarah turned to me and said, "Do you want that organ?" and I said, "Naaaah, it's a lot of work, I have nowhere to put it, and I don't have the time to invest in it at the moment." She said, "Well, it's special to me...." Well, say no more..... So I went back to ask him to sell it to me. So, this past weekend we loaded it all up and brought it to Indy.
After ruling out putting in our house (thank God we came to our senses!) we agreed it was best to put it in the chapel at GUMC.
Here is a video of the ENTIRE build, from start to finish.... (I must apologize in advance for not wearing a belt.)
I spent 8-10hrs a day, over a full week rebuilding and reassembling the much of the instrument, and countless hours sense, tuning, touching up, polishing, buffing, and touching up small details. The organ will make its debut in a few weeks, as we are preparing to recording a service or two in the chapel in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!