Visiting the World Class Organ Makers

CB Fisk in Gloucestor, MA recently finished two church organs. Everytime they finish a new opus, they invite the public to share in their masterwork, before the pieces get dismantled and shipped to churches around the world.

Here are some takeaways from a recent visit:

  • Being surrounded by the church pipes is a spiritual experience. With the lead organ pipes are spread across the room, and its possible to walk amongst all sound generators. When hundreds of pipes that range from over 12 feet to under 12 inches are being played, the resultant pitches intersect with all the natural resonances in the human body. The body is literally vibrating in-sync with the organ, and it is an awe-inspiring experience.
  • Both the process and the product are beautiful. Not only is the final product perfect, but the workbenches and tools used are meticulously crafted and well laid out. The design from all the custom jigs is impressive as the finished creation. Love and perfection is crafted into the instrument at every step of the process.
  •  The end result looks effortless. Each project begins with a scale model of the church, and the organ is arranged into the church so that it looks like it belong effortless. It takes a few iterations to get the design right, but in the end, it looks like the organ was built at the same time as the church.
  • The past is always present to inspire. The shop keeps those scale model recreations of all their past projects visible. All the previous models, and craftsmanship is on view to inspire and help with future design.
  • Massive mechanical instruments are possible. These huge massive can still work on actual levers, so the player can feel the organ shift with each no press. No buttons with electronic relays.
  • Modern methods are combined with ancient tradition. The key system uses cutting edge modern carbon fiber materials but the pipes maintain centuries old techniques of metal casting
  • Masterwork class is constantly in progress. The huge team of workers all seemed to be master craftsmen with over 10-20 years of experience.
  • Finish with a party! Every time CB fisk finishes a new opus, they invite the community to marvel in there work and final creation.
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