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Celebrating the historic pipe organ

August 23, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN - Features Editor/DMG writer (zkukkonen@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Of the many historic elements of the Keweenaw, one of the more interesting is the sheer abundance of working, historic pipe organs.

To celebrate this aspect of the area, a booklet has been released detailing the 14 historic pipe organs in the Copper Country, and a pipe organ and harp concert, as well as a historic pipe organ crawl will be held. Nationally renowned organist and Pine Mountain Music Festival performer Christina Harmon will join Calumet harpist Sidney Butler for a concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and Harmon and local organists will lead the public on a tour of four local historic pipe organs from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 30.

"In a pipe organ crawl, people are able to take a peek at the organ and see where the pipes are," co-author of "Historic Pipe Organs of the Keweenaw" and local organist Jan Dalquist said. "People are able to see if there's a pump on the organ, pump it to get the bellows to go and if they want to sit and play, they can play."

Dalquist and other local organists occasionally do organ crawls, but this is the first time it has been open to the public. The tour will include the Felgemaker 1882 organ at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Houghton, the Austin 1912 organ at Trinity Episcopal Church in Houghton, the Kimball 1905 organ at First United Methodist Church in Hancock and the Maxcy-Barton 1933, which used to be located at the former First Presbyterian Church on Franklin Square and now resides in the home of David and Carol Waisanen.

Tickets are $5, and space is limited to 15 people for the Waisanen organ, so people must call and register for that particular location ahead of time at 370-0380. Also, there are stairs that go up to the organ at St. Albert's, so those who cannot make it up the stairs can stay in the sanctuary, but will still get the experience.

"Christina Harmon's probably going to play a piece at each place," Dalquist said. "Any organist who wants to play will be able to play as well, and we're encouraging people in the public to play, especially kids."

Harmon will also be performing with Butler at the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's in Calumet Wednesday. The $10 performance will include a short, "old-time" silent comedy with pipe organ accompaniment, among other songs. Harmon has multiple connections to the Upper Peninsula, as her father taught at Menominee schools and has released a CD of her playing eight of the local historic pipe organs.

For those who are looking for more information on the local pipe organs, Dalquist and Anita Campbell have released "Historic Pipe Organs of the Keweenaw," an endeavor funded through a Keweenaw National Historic Park Advisory Commission Grant. Dalquist and Campbell had both written articles on the local pipe organs for the magazine "The Diapason," and decided to make a more accessible, detailed description for the public.

"If people go into Trinity Episcopal and want to go to a concert or a service, they can open up (the booklet) and see which stops are being used in the organ," Dalquist said. "They can find how and when the organ got there and find a little bit of church history."

Each organ gets a detailed history, a church history and a "stop list," which is a list of pipes each organ has. Extensive work from Dalquist, Campbell and Dave Short went into the booklet, which was printed by Greenlee Printing in Calumet and is currently being distributed for $5 by Keweenaw National Historical Park and Isle Royale National Park.

 
 

 

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