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Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472 Makes New Home at Providence United Methodist Church

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  • Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472 Makes New Home at Providence United Methodist Church

    Noted Instrument Makes New Home at Providence United Methodist Church

    Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472 to be installed during early 2013

    CHARLOTTE, NC – Providence United Methodist Church will soon be the new home of a noted Aeolian-Skinner organ. Upon the completion of the church’s instrument replacement project, the new instrument, Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472, will replace the Zimmer organ installed in the church’s sanctuary in the 1960s.
    “This replacement project is a momentous event for our church and our music ministry,” comments Dr. Adam Ward, Director of Music Ministries at Providence UMC. “We’ve struggled with our existing organ because it was not the appropriate instrument for our space. We’re fortunate that the opportunity to acquire an instrument of such excellence has opened up to us.”
    Opus 1472’s move from a noted concert hall in Washington, D.C. was completed June 15, 2012, several months after Phil Parkey, President and Tonal Director of Parkey OrganBuilders, had contacted Dr. Ward with the opportunity for Providence UMC to purchase the instrument. Interestingly enough, the Aeolian-Skinner’s removal was precipitated by the same size mismatch issues that plagued Providence UMC’s Zimmer organ: Inadequate scale for the space where it is installed.
    In both instances, a larger more powerful instrument should have been appropriated to the spaces and in both instances budgetary limitations kept the best instrument choices from being made.
    It is Providence UMC’s good fortune that its worship space is the perfect fit for the Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472.
    “Bringing this instrument to our sanctuary reinforces the prominence that we place on music as a vital worship element,” said Rev. John Fitzgerald, Senior Pastor at Providence UMC. “I’ve been impressed and elated with the response from the church for this opportunity. Churches, in general, are not known for rapid actions when it comes to raising and spending money. However, our members understood the significance of this opportunity and chose to seize it.”
    Parkey’s History
    Phil Parkey has history with Dr. Ward and history with “Opus 1472”. Parkey worked with Dr. Ward to resolve several instrument issues when Dr. Ward was serving at another church. Parkey was also prominent in the removal and reinstallation of Opus 1472 during an extensive renovation of its concert hall in 1995-1996.
    “My knowledge of the Aeolian-Skinner and history in working with it gives me a great knowledge base for recommending it for installation at Providence UMC,” said Parkey. “We are building new main windchests as part of our refurbishing process for placing this incomparable instrument in its new home. When I heard that Opus 1472 was scheduled to be removed, I thought of Providence UMC. It is a great match, in both scale and tone, for the Providence UMC sanctuary. Finally, Opus 1472 will be in a setting that allows it to perform to its fullest.”
    The Acquisition Process
    The opportunity for Providence UMC to acquire Opus 1472 came to Dr. Ward through Phil Parkey in early 2012 and required quick action Several potential buyers were eagerly awaiting word of Providence UMC’s decision – hoping that the church would pass on purchasing Opus 1472.
    Dr. Ward understood the good fortune that Parkey had sent his way and immediately began making the acquisition happen. Beginning with the finance committee, the church leaders and the chancel choir, Dr. Ward shared the opportunity and their quick timeline for making their decision and lining up the financing for the purchase. In a church, this is a little different than a business, so it literally took a village to get it done.
    Instrumental in the fund-raising and acquisition process was Michael Marsicano, a Providence UMC member whose passion for music has made him a tremendous supporter of the church’s Music Ministry. With his passion and his experience as President and CEO of Foundation for the Carolinas, Michael took the Providence UMC opportunity and ran with it – organizing meetings with potential donors and facilitating the discussions that made the ultimate decision to purchase Opus 1472 possible.

    “Bringing this high quality instrument to Providence UMC is a milestone in our use of music as a worship component. This extraordinary organ will enable our music program to take an already strong ministry to new heights,” comments Marsicano. “I’m thrilled with the generosity of our congregation and honored that I was able to help in meeting the necessary deadlines required for the acquisition.”
    Bringing Opus 1472 to Providence UMC
    The process of refurbishing an instrument of this stature and caliber is quite an undertaking.
    Opus 1472 is presently in the Parkey facility in Norcross, Georgia under the care of Parkey’s experts who will rebuild and refurbish the instrument to flourish in the Providence UMC space.
    Parkey's construction work on Opus 1472 will include:
    • All new main slider windchests
    • Renovation of any offset pedal chests retained
    • New and renovated components for the winding system
    • 3 new blowers for the winding system
    • Revision of the console for the Providence UMC specification
    • Two new custom polished facades and cases to fit the sanctuary at Providence UMC
    Opus 1472's schedule for construction in its new home and its debut to Providence UMC’s congregation and Charlotte community is as follows:
    • Removal of Providence UMC’s Zimmer – February 2013
    • Last Song with the Instrument –February 2013: The final performance by Providence UMC’s Zimmer and the last time the sanctuary will have a useable organ until July 2013
    • Begin Opus 1472 installation and build process – March/April 2013
    • Lug your Pipe Day – May/June 2013: Those who purchased pipes during fund raising are invited to help unload the 3,453 pipes that will be installed in the sanctuary (non-inclusive of State Trumpet pipes)
    • Complete Opus 1472 construction – July 2013
    • Instrument Tuning and Voicing Process – June-July 2013
    • Debut to Community – July 2013
    • Beginning of a series of concerts that will provide the community the opportunity to experience Opus 1472’s performance.
    • Official Instrument Dedication – September 6-8, 2013

    Dedication details:
    Alan Morrison, Professor of Organ at Curtis Institute will lead the dedication celebration with a Friday evening concert designed to showcase the instrument’s comprehensive capabilities, a Saturday class geared toward local musicians and leading in worship at Providence UMC’s two Sunday morning services where he will take the instrument through its considerable paces.

    About Parkey OrganBuilders

    Parkey Organbuilders (formerly Southeastern Organ Services) was founded in 1987 in Asheville, North Carolina. Initial operations consisted of pipe organ maintenance and service. In 1989, the company relocated to Atlanta, GA and in 1995, after experiencing exponential growth, changed its name to Parkey OrganBuilders and expanded operations beyond service, tuning and maintenance to encompass the full range of organ design, construction and installation. In 2003, the company expanded again to its current home in nearby Norcross.
    The combined expertise of Parkey’s professional staff represents over a century of musical and technical experience. The company maintains active working relationships with many musicians, respected consultants, and industry experts from around the world. Parkey Organbuilders, unlike many others that build other types of instruments as well as pipe organs, is dedicated solely to the creation and construction of pipe organs. Parkey’s experience, expertise and passion for excellence have made the company one of the largest pipe organ builders in the Southeastern United States.
    About Providence United Methodist Church Over 50 years after its founding, Providence United Methodist Church has grown to a church of over 2200 members who meet for worship in a facility located on over 9 acres of land. An average of 800 attend the two Sunday morning worship services. Although Providence has increased in size, it has retained the friendliness and family atmosphere of its small church beginning. As the church has grown, its outreach ministry has expanded beyond the borders of Charlotte. Members are engaged in humanitarian and charitable efforts not only in the local community, but also in other areas of North Carolina and in foreign countries. www.providenceumc.org

    Availability to media:
    The church sanctuary, the organ, Dr. Ward and Phil Parkey will be available to media members on upon project completion during July 2013. Dr. Ward and Mr. Parkey will be happy to discuss progress with media during the course of Opus 1472 project.
    Contact for media:
    Jill Purdy, 704-236-2501, [email protected]

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