OF OUR PARISH'S
The Pipe Organ of Holy Family Parish is about 130 years old. It is a 12 rank Farrand & Votey which we purchased in 1924 from out East. It only cost about $2,250 in those days!
It is in great need of repair for its functionality. Only one or two ranks work on it now. We want to restore it to excellent condition for our many weddings, Masses, adorations and other religious events. Please enjoy the photos - a great piece of history.
Coming soon: we hope to provide you with a photo gallery of the condition the organ is in, and at least some of the general points about what we intend to fix. Currently, we are discussing these very questions with various professional organ repair institutions.
Pictured above is a photo of Holy Family’s pipe organ in its first home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built in 1903 by the Farrand and Votey Organ Company, the factory was located just north of the Edsel Ford Expressway between 12th and 14th streets on Detroit’s West Side. The organ was originally hand pumped until an electric blower was installed in about 1910. The organ is tubular-pneumatic using lead piping to supply the wind to the pipes. These are controlled by a series of levers and pivots called trackers. This was a common system of operation for pipe organs until the early 19th century before the advent of electricity. As electricity became more common by 1910, this system was replaced by motorized blowers to supply wind power and electro-pneumatics (magnets) to open and close the wind to each individual pipe as the keys and pedals are played.
In 1924, Holy Family Parish purchased this organ from the Harrisburg church and brought it back to Detroit at a cost of $2,250.00 that included the organ’s transport and installation in our church. It is unknown what Holy Family used for an organ the intervening years of the parish’s founding in 1908 until 1924. Other than the electric blower, the organ sounds and operates the same today as it did in 1903.
After nearly 100 years of service to Holy Family Church, the organ is in need of a complete rebuild and cleaning in order to continue providing music for Masses, Weddings and other liturgical functions. At present, there are many air leaks in the leathered bellows such that the organ becomes almost unusable when the weather becomes cold. Each pipe must be removed and cleaned. There are small leather nuts numbering the tens of thousands that are crumbling and need replacement. This rebuilt will take several months to complete and cost nearly $100,000; a small price in comparison to a new, similar-sized new pipe organ of 2.5 million dollars. Please consider making a donation to our organ fund so that music may continue to enrich the liturgical life of Holy Family Church.
- By our Parish Organist, Mr. David Klemmer