Organ Fund

 1980 Zimmer Organ Upgrade

Diary of Work in Progress
(most recent updates are at the top)

May 1, 2017
Here are photos of work done recently. 
Three things remain to complete Phase One:

  1. Make and install key contacts in the Pedal key action.
  2. Install special contacts for the first and last keys of the Great (lower) manual and complete wiring of all contacts.
  3. Install and wire solid state relay, currently in process at Solid State Organ Systems, Inc.

Completion is currently anticipated at the end of June, possibly extending to the end of July.

View of upper manual keyboard with console top removed, showing pneumatic actuators (boxes with corrugated tubing running to them) for the three couplers.


David carefully marking centers for the electrical contacts to be added to each of the 61 keys.


Fastening the contact plates to the keys.


Contact plates installed (except the last one), and contact rail (61 individual contact blocks, each with four silver contact wires) mounted above the keys.


Coupler solenoids connected mechanically and electrically.


March 1, 2017
In the "before" image, you see the trackers to the Chor chest in the right half of the photo. (The trackers in the left half of the photos are part of the Pedal key action, in case you’re curious). The trackers are the off-white fiberglass rods, about 2 millimeters in diameter. They pass through an aluminum rail with felted holes. Clamped to that rail is a long wooden stick (not part of the organ) which was used to mark the locations of all those holes.


In  the "after" picture, you see that the guide rail has been replaced with electro-magnetic actuators (organ builders call them simply “magnets”), each one centered exactly in place of the original guide holes. These are the “pull-downs” referred to in the description of Phase One in the contract. Now each tracker passes through a grommet in a pull-down magnet instead of through a hole in a guide rail. Now each tracker can be pulled down electrically as well as mechanically. It is significant that this addition has had absolutely no effect on the feel or function of the original tracker action


February 23, 2017
Looking straight up at the bottoms of the keys, you can see that each key’s contact plate is poised to contact four silver wires – real silver alloy. Thus, depressing a key sends an electrical signal to the organ’s “brains”, which in turn sends electrical power various devices to make added pipes play or activate additional couplers.


Views of the underside of the Great (lower manual) keyboard with contacts installed.


February 15, 2017
Work begins! Contact "plates" installed on keys. 


Project Description
At  its fall meeting in 2013, Zion’s congregation voted to embark on a two-year $200,000 project to enhance, improve, and upgrade Zion’s 1980 Zimmer tracker organ. We now are asking you for a financial commitment to support this project. Zion is a musical church with a strong tradition of congregational singing and a thriving music program ranging from pre-school music to chancel choir to our Joyful Noiz and ZyJam youth groups. The Lutheran musical heritage is vast and inclusive. Within this project, we will be able to increase diversity and variety in the sound of the organ, equipping it to serve a broader range of musical style.

The plan includes nine phases to improve our organ while preserving its sound and architecture. The work done in each of these phases will make the instrument easier to play, add more depth of tone, and will provide tones and stops not currently present. For example, the original design omitted string stops, analogous to now giving an artist yellow paint, where previously only red and blue were present.

This is a timely project because we have the fortune to have David Chamberlin as our organist. We likely will never again have an organist who is also a nationally recognized organ builder, who specializes in mechanical and tonal design, who knows our organ inside and out, and who is so well acquainted with our church.

No other musical instrument can lead and support voices in hymns, songs and chants as effectively as the pipe organ. Organ use in worship is part of a musical tradition dating back five centuries. Our organ, nearing 40 years old, is a treasure that belongs to all of us and these improvements will ensure its long life.

Along with its central role in worship, our organ also serves as a community resource. We can make the organ more attractive to the larger music community, to visiting organists, organ students, and Zion’s future organists. Its use for organ concerts and recitals by community members will bring visitors to Zion and increase awareness of our church, our programs, and our ministry.

When Zion congregation committed to raise $1.6 million in 1997 to expand the building, the goal was not to change the facility unrecognizably but rather to allow us to expand our ministry, to be able to provide space for the preschool, to support Family Promise, to provide additional gathering space. In much the same way, additions and improvements to the organ will not change it into something unrecognizable but rather position it to provide better support for the congregation. 

We hope you will prayerfully consider supporting the Organ Donation Fund.  To find out how to donate contact AnnMarie Mogran at

Exodus 15:2
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God,  and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.


Psalm 33:3 NIV Sing to him a new song, play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Online Organ Fund Donation

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