Sacred Heart Music Center Organ Restored for First Time in Decades

Northland Uncovered: Organ Restoration

DULUTH, Minn. – Over the past several years Duluthians have raised $40,000 to tune up an historic organ in town.

That organ is now being put back together at Sacred Heart Music Center.

“It sings; there’s breath that goes through the pipes. It’s the closest to the human voice as any instrument,” said Reverend Dr. David Tryggestad, resident organist at Sacred Heart Music Center.

Renovation work on the organ began in April.

“It’s a major operation; it’s almost like building the organ from scratch,” explained Tryggestad.

“The pipework had kind of drifted through getting dirty over time. The organ was also very difficult to maintain because it didn’t have very good interior lighting or access points,” explained Christoph Wahl, of Wahl Organ Builders.

Wahl Organ Builders is owned by father and son team Ronald and Christoph Wahl.

They took the pipes back to their shop in Appleton to remove dust and dents and describe the work as educational.

“It’s quite a learning experience to see how other builders solve problems,” said Ronald Wahl.

Working on organs is a passion Ronald Wahl has held for a majority of his life and though he now mainly builds new organs this restoration work is a challenge he loves to take on.

“So many people sell organs or trade them in or get the newest model and to appreciate these historic instruments is very pleasant for us,” said Ronald.

Since the pipes have been returned to Duluth, Tryggestad says he can feel a change.

“I can tell a difference in the crispness of the sound, it’s brighter and more responsive,” said Tryggestad.

The Organ Historical Society is hosting its 62nd Annual Convention in August.

On August 11 the convention is coming to Duluth when an internationally known organ player will perform on this organ at Sacred Heart.

Organ Recital Schedule:

Isabelle Demers and Jillian Gardner on the 2011 and 1980 Jaeckel organs at First Lutheran Church
When: 11:35 a.m.
Where: 1100 East Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802
Tickets: Open to the public at no charge

Lunch and Demonstration:
Isabelle Demers on the 1908 W.W. Kimball organ at the Duluth Masonic Center
When: 1:35 p.m.
Where: 4 West 2nd St., Duluth, MN 55802
Tickets: Attendance limited to registered conference attendees

David Tryggestad on the 1906 Lyon & Healy organ at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church
When: 3:15 p.m.
Where: 325 East 3rd St., Duluth, MN 55805
Tickets: Open to the public at no charge

Bruce Bengtson on the 1898 A.B. Felgemaker organ at Sacred Heart Music Center
When: 4:25 p.m.
Where: 201 West 4th St., Duluth, MN 55806
Tickets: Tickets are available at the door for $15.

*Photography and editing by William Seay*

Categories: Community, Entertainment, Links, Minnesota, News, News – Latest News, Northland Uncovered