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St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, CO

W. W. Kimball Company, Chicago, IL. Opus 7231, 1938

W. W. Kimball Co., Opus 7231 at St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, CO., was rededicated on November 5, 2011, in a concert by Paul Jacobs. The two-year restoration of the 96-rank instrument has returned it to like-new condition, ready to provide several generations of reliable service.
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All but the 31 largest pipes were removed from the chambers. With the exception of the superstructure and chest frames, all mechanical components were transported back to our Waltham shop for restoration. We also set up a temporary shop in Denver to handle restoration of the zinc pipes, all wood pipes, and structural components. Tonal finishing was undertaken by Jonathan Ambrosino and Daniel Kingman.

The 2012-2013 concert season on the Kimball includes Peter Richard Conte, Christian Lane, The Chenaults, Adam Brakel and Gerald Holbrook.

The following speech was given by Joseph Rotella at the occasion of the rededication of the Kimball organ in November, 2011:

For the last two and half years, I have looked out across this beautiful Cathedral and have wondered what it would be like on the day of dedication to see the pews filled with people waiting to hear the organ come back to life. I can tell you, it looks wonderful. To see so many people excited to hear the organ again brings us immense joy and we are filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of preserving this instrument for generations to come.

Turning to our work, basically, the restoration of an organ like this involves the repetitive rebuilding of hundreds of pieces of mechanism, each needing hundreds of pieces of smaller parts replaced, each part being made out of specific types of materials, each material being carefully hand selected and hand scrutinized for any flaws or defects, each adding in some small way to the success of the whole.

But, like any grand Cathedral, large organs inevitably involve issues of scale and complexity that set them apart from routine jobs. And this Kimball isn’t just a large organ. It’s one of those instruments that has lots of everything. Lots of pipes. Lots of bellows. Lots of swell shutters. And lots of individual pieces of mechanism. And all of it crammed into less space, relatively speaking, than any organ we have ever worked on. The bruises, scrapes and cuts we have endured working on this organ have set a company record.

There are a number of other things that distinguish this project. First, this was Kimball’s last big organ and as such, we feel great responsibility to preserve this final vision of what a great company thought made for an heroic organ. Second, the fine stewardship of the organ by the congregation and the careful maintenance by long time organ technician Normal Lane, had left the organ in amazingly restorable condition. Recently, the Cathedral’s Organ Task Force, whose organbuilding knowledge, love of history, and desire to see things done right, produced the project we celebrate tonight. We are grateful for their encouragement and support.

A project like this involves many hands and there are many of my staff here along with many whose expertise and experience have contributed greatly to the success you are about to experience. My gratitude goes out to them for all their hard work. If you want to know more about the organ or the project, I hope you will seek me or one of my staff out after the concert so we can talk to you and answer any questions you might have.

Thank you again for this amazing opportunity and I hope you will be pleased with what you hear. Enjoy…..

To the many hands that helped to make this project a success including: Jonathan Ambrosino, Aravinda Ananda, William Catanesye, Chris Harrington, Dick Houghten, Sam Hughes, John Kennedy, Daniel Kingman, Josh Lawton, Mike LeLievre, Martin Near, Sean O’Donnell, Steve Okonski, Jonathan Ortloff, Gary Patterson, Gary Phillips, Joe Sloane, Stephen Soph, Erik Spooner, Jim Steinborn, Walt Stromack, Vladimir Vaculik, David Young and Joe Zamberlan


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