The First Presbyterian Church of Lyons, known in the area for its strong music ministry, will be without their Ernest M Skinner & Son Pipe Organ for the next three months. Parsons Pipe Organ Builders is removing the workings of the organ’s console to take them to their shop in Canandaigua, NY, to continue their renovation of this nearly 100 year old gem.
In the spring of 2017, the then newly formed Organ Committee minutes read “Mr. Parsons stressed the importance and rarity of our Skinner (& Son) Organ. It is the top-of-the-line or perhaps the Cadillac of pipe organs ever produced. It deserves our efforts to preserve it.”
The fact that their organ was put on the list of organs to be heard by the members of the Organ Historical Society when they came to Rochester for their national convention helped the members of the Lyons church better grasp how special their Ernest M Skinner & Son organ is.
The Committee solicited donations from church members and friends, the Lyons community, and from their many followers on social media. Three graduate students from Eastman, three local organists and one organist who had ties to the area presented three benefit concerts. By June 2017 they were able to begin with some of the smaller repairs. The renovations that were needed to keep this 1928 organ playing for another 100 years ranged in urgency and price. After completing about $15,000 of work, decision was made to only deal with organ emergencies and to save up for the most expensive single need — $50,000 to have the organ’s console renovated.
The First Presbyterian Church of Lyons and Parsons Pipe Organ Builders will be joining forces to keep the many people who have contributed to the renovation of the console informed of its progress. Watch their Facebook pages (https://www.facebook.com/lyonspresbyterianny and https://www.facebook.com/ParsonsPipeOrganBuilders ) and this news outlet for updates during the coming months.
Next on the agenda- raising about $45,000 to do a number of medium-size repairs, one of which is replacing the leather gaskets in the lovely wooden pipes pictured here. Ninety-three year old leather supplemented with paper toweling does not allow the low notes of this historic organ to speak clearly! For more information on this Ernest M Skinner & Son Pipe Organ or to donate to its renovation, please contact the church at 315-946-4723, or at email@example.com, or send a note to the church at 11 Queen St, Lyons, NY 14489. The members of the Organ Committee had once doubted that they could complete the task of doing these major renovations, but now have faith that it can be done!