Pipe Dreams a Reality — for 15 Years!

Fifteen years ago, “pipe” dreams at St. Andrews Baptist Church literally came true! The Schantz pipe organ was installed in the Sanctuary in August 1992, and dedicated on September 20, 1992.

Although the congregation was not able financially at the time to purchase a pipe organ, the then-new Sanctuary was outfitted in 1980 for a “future” pipe organ. Seven years later a capital stewardship campaign, “Onward Together”, included the pipe organ and, as the fund-raising neared completion, an organ planning committee (which had actually been working for several years) began making plans for the congregation to purchase a 38-Rank Schantz Pipe Organ. The custom-built organ was designed to be large enough to enable congregational singing, to provide powerful service music, and to accompany choral presentations.

On July 20, 1992, a large truck carrying the pipe organ arrived from the factory in Orrville, Ohio, where the organ had actually been designed and hand-crafted, put together in a large room at the factory where it was tested, and then taken apart for the trip to our church. The team of technicians and organ builders which accompanied the truck, with help from many St. Andrews volunteers, began to unload thousands of pipes, all of which were laid across the pews in the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary area that week was a beehive of activity. Many church members dropped in during the days the builders were here and marveled at the work they were accomplishing. After about two weeks, the beautiful wood work had been re-assembled and the pipes installed. They range in size from 3/8 inch and the diameter of a pencil, to 16 feet long and more than a hand-width across, and are made of both metal and wood.

More than 600 pipes are exposed in the two chests flanking the baptistry, and are anchored by the beautiful 61-piece section of trumpet-shaped pipes above the baptistry, called “trompette en chamade”.

Originally costing $286,000, the organ is worth well over $500,000 today. Our Schantz pipe organ, with its range of sounds from quiet and meditative to huge and powerful, was built to last a lifetime. And, it’s still sounding wonderful after just 15 years!