American Guild of Organists
Milwaukee Chapter

2 pm - Matthew Lawrenz, organ

  • 11 Aug 2013
  • 2:00 PM
  • Christ Church, UCC, Milwaukee

Matthew Lawrenz, Organ

Aug. 11 (Sun.) 2pm
Christ Church, UCC
915 E. Oklahoma Ave.

Milwaukee, WI

The Christ Church Pipe Organ

The original organ dates back to 1940. That year, Victor Maves became organist and choirmaster of Christ Church. Maves was a professional theatre organist and had served as organist in several large Milwaukee churches. With construction of the new church building underway, Maves designed the original Christ Church organ which was dedicated when the sanctuary opened in April, 1941. The organ was built by the Verlinden Organ Company, a Milwaukee firm. Much of the original organ, including most of the pipes, is still in use today. In 1969, the organ was renovated and several ranks of pipes were added. This work was also performed by Verlinden. Dedication, which included participation by Christ Church’s three choirs, was held on June 22, 1969.

After 40 years of faithful service, the organ began to show signs of impending failure. A well known Milwaukee organ consultant, was hired to advise the Church Council as to the work which needed to be done. After careful consideration, the contract was awarded to P.J. Swartz Pipe Organ Services of Eatonton, Georgia.

Mr. Swartz and his team have completely upgraded the instrument. Obsolete air-powered switching systems have been replaced with state-of-the-art computerized technology. Removal of these large switching systems allowed for complete reconfiguration of the pipes in the chamber, resulting in substantially improved sound. New ranks of pipes were added, including an oboe, trumpet and principal, making the total number of pipes nearly 1,000. The organ console now stands on a movable platform which can be easily repositioned for various functions.

The re-dedication concert was performed by Donald VerKuilen on November 6, 2011.

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