The Organ

During the pastorate of Dr. R. B. Kester (1910 - 1915), a new organ was installed. The organ came as a gift of Mrs. Nan Beeks Goodwin, given in memory of herBeeksOrgan1910 beloved parents, Christopher B. and Hannah J. Beeks. Mr. and Mrs. Beeks moved to Baldwin in 1859 when church services were held in the "Old Castle". Mr. Beeks became a trustee of the fledgling congregation, and Mrs. Beeks was an officer of the Ladies Sewing Circle when that group assumed responsibility of erecting the new church. Mr. Beeks died in 1888 and Mrs. Beeks in 1902. The church accepted with gratitude "this beautiful organ presented in memory of two pioneers of Kansas, who with those other noble souls, made Baldwin more than a promise of what is to be." (Dedication Week Service folder, Dec. 11-18, 1910) A note in the Dec. 23, 1910 Baldwin Ledger after the Dec. 11 cantata and the Dec. 18 dedication service stated: "Baldwin, without doubt, has an organ superior to any in any adjacent city and is far superior to those in all towns three times the size of Baldwin."

 

The fire of 1930 gutted the church, destroying all the contents including the organ. Although records do not indicate what type, the new building had an organ of some kind. Present member, Ruth Ann Nutt, remembers attending Youth Institute worship services in the present sanctuary in 1934 where an organ was used.

 

Under the leadership of Rev. James S. Chubb (1934 - 1942), a fund drive to purchase a new organ for $3,894.80 from the Reuter Organ Company in Lawrence, Kansas began. Donations came in slowly and $2,144.80 remained as the balance of the bill. After several notifications, Rev. Chubb, received a letter dated December 10, 1936 from the Reuter Company beginning with these words: "Would you rather see me come to Baldwin, or see the sheriff?". In spite of the scant depression offerings, the bill was finally paid and the organ dedicated.

 

This organ served the congregation well until 1963 when the decision was made to replace it, again from Reuter Organ Company. The Reuter Company proposed an organ with 28 ranks of pipes (the old organ contained 13) and three manuals instead of the original two. The cost of such an instrument was $35,000. Wanting to display the new organ at a conference of 700 National Methodist Musicians at Baker University in the summer of 1963, Reuter discounted the price by $2,000. Along with a $2,500 trade-in, the price of the new organ was $30,500, but delivery and installation fees brought the final contract to $32,874.01, with a portion of the funding provided by Baker University.

 

Reuter exercised great care to assure the console conformed to the architecture and symmetry of the church interior. A single pencil holder from the back of one of the pews served as a guide for a perfect match of the finish to that of the sanctuary furnishings. The organ was consecrated at worship services on October 27, 1963, with Lester Groom as organist.

 

In December of 2000, various maintenance problems dealing with the wind supply to the organ were corrected by Doug McCord Organ service. Following proposals made by organists, Hyung-Kyu Yi and Susan Buehler, plans were made in 2004 to update the organ. In January 2005, Mid States Pipe Organ Co. began modifying the existing stop list of the organ. Along with these changes, the Swell and Choir divisions were revoiced, and their volumes increased to improve the overall ensemble sound of the organ. The cost of the repairs and updating came to $15,801 and were paid by the John W. Heaton endowment fund for the organ upkeep.

 
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