Cutchogue Presbyterian Church originally formed in 1732 and was known then as Cutchogue Church. Dedicated in 1852, the present sanctuary saw the addition of the distinctive steeple and
Meneely bell from Troy in 1883. Then, in 1905, they extended the north end of the church an additional twenty-four feet adding stained glass windows and their first pipe organ, a
Kilgen. The present organ is also a
Kilgen and it was installed in 1948.
This instrument served the congregation well for over fifty years. The members of the church really loved their
Kilgen pipe organ, but increasing mechanical failures became a concern. Recommendations on rebuilding, reworking and possibly improving the instrument led to many committee meetings discussing multiple options. After speaking with our references and hearing our work, the church chose our proposal for the restoration of their pipe organ.
Rather than re-leather the existing electro-pneumatic mechanism, our firm and the church agreed on retrofitting the windchests with electric valve action. This eliminates the need for future re-leathering of the windchests and also allowed us to tonally enhance the instrument though unification. Unification is a way of deriving more stops (sounds) from a single rank of pipes. The addition of 48 pipes on offset windchests allowed the following ranks to be expanded: the 8' Geigen (Swell), which can now play at 8' and 4', the 8' Gedeckt (Swell) can play at 8', 4', 2-2/3', and 2', the 8' Hohlflute (Great) can play at 8', 4', and 2', and the 4' Octave (Great) can play at 4' and 2'.
The console also received much needed improvements, mostly in the form of a
Peterson solid-state upgrade. This update greatly enhanced the console functions and tremendously improved reliability by eliminating the cumbersome and failing electro-pneumatic switching action, (the mechanism that translates the data from the console telling which pipe to play at a specific time). Some of the improved console functions include the original six general pistons being expanded to twelve, along with toe studs replicating their function, six new divisional pistons for the Great and Swell, six toe studs for the Pedal division, and also the installation of four levels of memory.
The church wisely prepared for two future additions with this restoration. For now, the organ retains its original sound, and offers some additional tonal variety to the organist. Based on the response heard and seen at the April 4th, 2004 rededication concert played by
C.J. Sambach, everyone seems to be quite pleased with the sound of this excellent restoration. Since they chose
Elsener Organ Works to restore their pipe organ, the Cutchogue Presbyterian Church will continue to enjoy their instrument for many years to come.