A 120-year-old pipe organ in Duncan getting major clean-up after decades

WatchA 120-year-old pipe organ at Duncan United Church is getting the cleaning of a lifetime. Tahmina Aziz has more.

A 120-year-old pipe organ at Duncan United Church is getting the cleaning of a lifetime.

The treasured instrument, which has been in the church’s possession for nearly a century, is currently undergoing a long-overdue cleaning and tune-up this week.

The process is so extensive, they had to bring in an expert from out of the province to help.

Jason Barnsley, the owner of Barnsley Pipe Organs in Calgary and is leading the project, said he’s happy to see the community coming together to help.

“It’s stuff that can be done by volunteers. It’s kind of an arts and crafts kind of thing,” said Barnsley, who is one of the few organ technicians in the country.

About 25 volunteers from the church have come together to spruce up the instrument throughout the week, which has been with the community for 90 years.

“This is a good opportunity for the congregation to take ownership and stewardship of this instrument. People sacrificed in 1933 to give them this instrument,” said Barnsley.

He said many churches are disposing of their pipe organs and hopes they’re inspired by the Duncan community to keep theirs.

“I hope that other churches seeing this report might be able to say, ‘you know what? Maybe our church can band together and get some volunteers together and we can do some of this work,” he said.

The church saved about half the cost of repairs by working on it together and the community says the labour is worth it.

“There aren’t many of them left,” said Connie Masson, the church’s music director.

“To me, it’s the master of all instruments because it can make a lot of different sounds. And it can combine together in different ways and be like an orchestra all on their own,” she explained.

The pipe organ is set to be reassembled and ready to go by Friday.

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Tahmina AzizTahmina Aziz

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