Saint John Fraser

Pipe Organ Rebuild Project

The Steiner-Reck Organ of Saint John Lutheran Church in Fraser, Michigan was dedicated in June of 1987, the year after the new church was completed. It has served and inspired the congregation for over 30 years, but has displayed an increasing number of mechanical and electrical issues leading to the major rebuild project that is now underway as part of Saint John's Branching Out building and remodeling program. Roch Morin of J. A. Hebert and Son Associates of Troy, Michigan has been contracted to lead this project. He has tuned and maintained the instrument for 25 years.

The pipe organ rebuild project will consist of 3 phases:

  1. REMOVAL - taking out all pipework (except the 10 largest pipes), mechanical action systems, organ console, and all the pipe chests (the large boxes filled with rows of holes as seen in photos). This was completed from April 2-19, 2018. In addition, Saint John members will carry out a remodeling of the balcony steps, replacement of some tile and trim in the balcony, and insulating and drywalling over the exhaust grate on the back wall where some of the larger pipes of the organ will be relocated.
  2. REPAIR & REPLACE - cleaning, repairing, or replacing of pipes; regulating and voicing of all pipes; construction of a new drawknob organ console; and construction of new pipe chests. This work will be done at Organ Supply Industries in Erie, PA from late-April into October.
  3. REINSTALLATION - all new components will return to the church starting in early-October to be reinstalled. This will take roughly 6 weeks. There will be new pipe chests to install, roughly 2,300 pipes to place onto those chests, and some final voicing and tuning to be done. These systems will be controlled from a new, movable organ console with 3 manual keyboards and pedalboard. In addition to the winded pipe components, the organ will also contain some new digital voices and recording capability to allow for more flexibility of use. This final phase should be completed by summer 2019.

When the organ is complete, it will look no different when viewing from below, but it will have a "warmer, rounder" sound while maintaining its reedy fire and brilliance when desired. Even though the organ will be no larger or louder than it was before, the listener will hear new colorful sounds not heard prior to the rebuild and may notice that the instrument can go from a very quiet registration to the full organ with a seamless buildup of volume and brilliance that was not possible before. We pray that the resulting instrument, which for all practical purposes will be a new organ, will serve to inspire the congregation to new heights of praise in worship and song for many, many years to come.

On the pages that follow you can see photos documenting the progress of this substantial project, obtain more details about the project, and see specific information on the organ as originally installed along with the updated specifications following the rebuild. Check back every so often to see new updates.