Organ Rescue Project

A pipe organ can be expected to have a useful life of many decades, even centuries,  with regular maintenance and if not damaged by improper treatment.

Started in 2013 with the efforts of Freeman Dryden, the Organ Rescue Project (ORP) consisted of a group of volunteers, focused on preserving worthy pipe organs. It included acting as brokers between prevailing and prospective owners; assisting with disassembly, moving, and/or reassembly of an instrument; or even providing a complete end-to-end service.  Five organs throughout the Maritimes were saved through the efforts of the ORP.

Today. we may be able to advise on how to maintain, salvage, service, procure, re-locate, dispose of, etc. instruments.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

A couple of interesting articles…


Organ Rescue Project Highlights

Casavant Opus 717
Relocated to St. James Presbyterian Church
Sherbrooke Village, NS

Organ rescue Sherbrooke

In 2015, the Organ Rescue Project announced that moving and re-installation of Casavant Op.717 was complete and awaiting professional voicing and tuning on Aug. 13th and 14th, 2015. Replacement value is estimated at $220,000.

This organ, the generous gift of Milton Christian Church to the Sherbrooke Museum, was dismantled, transported, and re-erected by the volunteer crew of the Organ Rescue Project with yeoman service from organisations such as the Liverpool Volunteer Fire Department, Budget Truck Rentals, the Halifax Music Co-Op and the amazing Carpenter Shop and administrative staff at the Sherbrooke Museum.

With configuration in its new home being somewhat different than in its previous location, mechanical modifications were designed by Freeman Dryden and Andrew Touesnard of the ORP and precision-fabricated by the Museum’s Wood Shop crew and blacksmith.  The organ’s original feeder bellows were intact and in excellent shape and Museum staff fabricated a replacement for the bellows’ long-lost pumper arm and linkage so that, in addition to being winded by an electric blower (installed in the 1930s), it will be able to be hand-pumped at special historical occasions.

An official unveiling and dedication was held on Aug. 15th, 2015 at 2:00 pm.

Casavant Opus 1643

The future for Opus 1643 was looking really bleak just days ago, but thanks to the initiative and connections of John Overton and John Bogardus this fine little organ was saved to become an asset for the Halifax Music Co-op and beyond.

On January 5, 2015, Casavant Opus #1643 (II-19; EP; 1940) was loaded into a truck in Kentville and transported to the fabulous new home of the Halifax Music Coop (the large, resonant GYM of Brunswick Street United Church), where the process of re-erection will begin almost immediately.  The hope is to have it used for practice, recitals, continuo for the HMC orchestra, and its reconstruction will provide keen HMC members and others with some valuable hands-on organ-building experience.

Casavant Opus 2543

Thanks to the interest and generosity of the Halifax Centre RCCO we had a truck to transport Casavant Opus #2543 [III-32; EP; 1959] (Sackville NB) to a Halifax location where the ORP is negotiating temporary storage to at least May 31, 2015, possibly beyond, and thereby saving that organ from a trip to the landfill. Op.2543 was rescued by the dedicated efforts of Robert Summerby-Murray and his son(s?) and Andrew Barss. They have completely dismantled this large three-manual organ and prepared it for packing and transport.

l’Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption
Arichat, Nova Scotia (Isle Madame)

NDAorgan-console copy
photo courtesy of Freeman Dryden

The historic organ (circa 1860) of l’Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, Arichat (the Cathedral of the Diocese at the time) was mechanically and tonally restored in 2010 by Jean-François Mailhot. It was decided to not restore or refinish the «buffet» but rather that it should wear its signs of long use as a badge of honour.  It was originally hand-pumped, had an ersatz blower sending wind down from the attic — freezing in Winter and sweltering in Summer.  It now has a modern, silent blower drawing air from the same area as the pipes, thus ensuring stable tuning.