People attending services at St. John’s Episcopal Church may hear a restored 1910 pipe organ dedicated in memory of a Lodi music lover Carol Marie Krengel as early as Sunday.
The pipe organ arrived in dozens, perhaps hundreds of pieces in a U-Haul truck from Washington state on Wednesday afternoon, and it will take several days before it’s assembled.
The organ is the same age as the small chapel at St. John’s, but it’s in dozens of pieces at the moment. A pipe organ expert from Oregon will spend the next several days in the main sanctuary putting all 579 pipes and other organ parts together.
The St. John’s sanctuary had stacks and stacks of organ parts on the floor Thursday and Friday, waiting to be meticulously put together over several days. Wooden and tin pipes are in rows, some on the floor and some in the pews. They will be cleaned up in time for Sunday’s services; then work will resume on Monday.
The organ will be dedicated in the memory of Carol Krengel, a music lover who sang in the choir at Vinewood Community Church. She died in 1989 at the age of 55.
Family members in Lodi, Sacramento and Palm Desert pooled their resources to purchase the organ in Krengel’s memory at St. John’s, where her son, Pete Krengel, heads The Arts at St. John’s.
“Carol Marie Krengel — she is smiling, I know,” her daughter-in-law, Barbara Krengel, said. “(St. John’s) church is incredibly excited.”
The pipes are of various lengths, the longest one being 15 feet, 4 inches high. It will rest just underneath the stained-glass window behind the pulpit.
>Parish organist Robin Knutson discovered that the pipe organ was available through a retired professor at Pacific Lutheran University, where Knutson majored in pipe organ music. The professor knew of an organ in a storage unit in Port Orchard, Wash., west of Seattle.
The organ was originally housed at a church in Ohio before being moved to a Lutheran church in West Seattle, said Frans Bosman, a pipe organ builder from Mosier, Ore. When the Lutheran church consolidated with another church in December, Bosman bought the organ and kept it in the storage unit near the home of an associate.
After Knutson learned of the organ’s availability, she contacted Bosman, and he made a 22-hour drive to deliver it from the Northwest.
The next morning, Bosman, Knutson, her husband, Randy Knutson, and others laboriously took part by part out of the truck and into the sanctuary.
They hope to have it in good enough condition to play the pipe organ during Sunday’s service. In any case, it will be in full use on Sept. 30.
The pipe organ is known as a “tracker action organ” built by A.B. Felgemaker from Erie, Pa., opus 951, which means it is all mechanical action, said Randy Knutson, St. John’s music director. The only electricity is that which puts air into the bellows, he said.
Jerel Ellison, back-up organist for Robin Knutson at St. John’s, is used to playing the electric organ at church. The historic pipe organ has a different feel, which Ellison described as “squishy.”
The 1910 “tracker” is different, much like old manual typewriters have a different feel from today’s computer keyboards, Ellison said.
The pipe organ is a rather rare commodity in Lodi. Others are in such places as First United Methodist, Grace Presbyterian, Zion Reformed and Fairmont Seventh-day Adventist churches in Lodi, and Morris Chapel at University of the Pacific.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.