The Community Church of Great Neck officially founded in 1914 when Great Neck itself was a small, suburban town with a population of approximately 4,000 people.
As the population grew, so did the number of members in the congregation.
At the height of this expansion, between the 1940's and 1950's, the church recorded a membership of over 1300 adults.
To guide these members in song, a new M.P. Moller pipe organ was installed in 1950. In the 1970's, additions by the
Tellers Organ Company nearly doubled the size of the instrument.
Due to shifts in the population, the church saw an ever increasing drop of members to the point where only thirty people might be seen on a Sunday morning in the 1990's.
During that period, critical maintenance of the instrument did not occur and it fell into disrepair.
However, the church had hope as they merged with another church that had ties to the Overseas Chinese Mission.
With a renewed and revitalized membership, plans for restoring their fine pipe organ could move forward.
The original sections of the organ use pitman chests.
The action is electro-pneumatic and many of the components incorporate leather.
The more recent additions use a different type of chest, but they also contain components incorporating leather.
Unfortunately, leather does not last forever, and problems were becoming apparent to even non-musically inclined members of the church.
Ciphers and dead-notes riddled the instrument and in fact, the entire Great and Choir divisions had to be disabled to permit limited use of the organ.
Knowing that they had an excellent instrument in desperate need of help, in late 2003, the church wisely chose to restore rather than to replace with an electronic substitute.
For this restoration, the decision was made to keep the original action.
This entailed removing all components inside the chests and bringing them back to our facility for complete refurbishing.
Before these components could be reinstalled, pitmans, gaskets and seals needed replacing as well.
Additionally, we removed several reservoirs for re-leathering while the largest ones were restored in place.
Some of the pipes were damaged or collapsing, and had to be brought back to the pipe shop and restored.
The console obviously needed attention, and it received plenty of it.
From the new, Peterson ICS-4000 to the drawknobs
and the keyboards, this console became one of the most advanced, functional and reliable consoles yet.
It is now complete with MIDI, 100 levels of memory and all the other amenities a solid-state rebuild affords.
It also looks beautiful once again, as the exterior was refinished and re-lacquered.
Many other improvements were made, not the least of which was the
cleaning of the instrument.
On the sweltering days, we were able to use our clothes as sponges (not intentionally)!