Pipe organ at church in Chatan revives its timbre
February 23, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
In January, a pipe organ in Chatan All Soul’s Church in Yoshihara was overhauled for the first time since its installation. Thousands of parts such as bellows using sheepskin and reeds were all fixed. Organist Nobuko Itosu, who held a recital on the 26th using the organ, which had regained its original sound, said, “The brilliance of the pipe sounds have come back.” She had been preparing for the recital.
The organ in All Soul’s Church has a height of 3.8 meters, a width of 2.7 meters, and a depth of 2 meters. The organ was installed when the church community determined to comfort the spirits of the war dead in Okinawa. It was ordered from Germany in 1996, and it was installed at the end of the same year.
As it was a time for large-scale renewal of the church, the church decided to repair the organ and raised funds mainly from the church community just like when setting it up.
Technician from Bosch Company in Germany York Peterite, who was responsible for the installation, returned to Okinawa. He worked with Ikuo Nakai, who is a pipe organ meister from Hiroshima and has regularly tuned the organ, for two weeks from the middle of January.
They took out all parts from the inside, from pipes to valves to springs. They repaired, exchanged, and reinstalled the parts.
According to Nakai, a pipe organ can be used for about 200 years if maintenance is continued. The oldest is an organ from the 15th century in Switzerland. Pieterite said, “I noticed that this organ had been used with care. The organ feels comfortable to play. I hope they enjoy playing it.”
The first concert after the repair is scheduled for “Monastery Mass” which takes about 45 minutes to play a piece by French composer Cooperan.
Itosu said, “Although Okinawa has not regained peace in 72 years after the war, I want to confirm that we will not lose sight of the light even in the darkness and proceed with hope.”
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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