Iowa City church hears pipe organ for first time in 9 months - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City church hears pipe organ for first time in 9 months

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - After nine months of cleaning, assembly, and tuning, Iowa City's Trinity Episcopal Church has its century-old Pilcher pipe organ back. Sunday was the first time the congregation heard the instrument's voice, since it was taken out of the church sanctuary in April last year.

For the past several months, organist Andrew Hicks has been playing the piano for Sunday services. But he says there's no substitute for the old Pilcher organ.

"We've been using piano, which is great, but organ is better. It's a better instrument for congregational song, and it belongs in a church like this," said Hicks.

Earlier in January, a crew from Bedient Pipe Organ Company was working hard to put the instrument back together. Once that was done, they had a new challenge: tuning its 19 sets of pipes.

"When it's put back together, nothing's in tune; it sounds really, really bad," said Mark Miller, Vice President of Field Operations for Bedient. "Then we slowly work through it, and it gradually comes back to life."

Miller says it's a time-consuming task, that keeps him on his toes. "It always has this sort of fresh liveliness about it," he said.

And the job requires hours, sometimes days of work, with over one-thousand pipes to tune. But the tones that now explode from those pipes are proof that all that work paid off. For Hicks, the sound of the organ - accompanied by the congregation's singing - was worth the nine-month wait.

"It probably hasn't sounded this good for 90 years."

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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