OUR PIPE Organ

Discover the historic instrument that continues to bring beauty to our church and our community.

Our organ is going through a massive restoration process. We’ll keep you updated with the latest progress on our resources page.

We’re documenting the restoration of the organ as well as including photos from the past and present.

We would love for you to join us for a service or one of our special concerts. The organ is currently being restored and will return at the end of 2018.

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History

The first recorded pipe organ in Norfolk was at Christ Church. Subsequently, Christ Church had fine organs made by top builders of the day, including Thomas Hall, Henry Erben, and Hook & Hastings. Austin Organ opus 619 served the Parish in the current building for many years, replacing an organ that was destroyed by a church fire shortly after the church was built. Non-speaking façade pipes remain in the back of the church from the old Austin organ.

The current organ, situated high up in chambers on both sides of the divided chancel, was built in 1963 by the French-Canadian firm Casavant Frères and subsequently rebuilt and enlarged in 1996 by Orgues Létourneau.

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Restoration

In 2017, Foley-Baker, Inc of Tolland, CT was engaged to rebuild and restore the great organ. This work, projected to be completed by February 2019, will tonally unify the organ, expand and reconfigure the organ chambers to ease accessibility, and add more foundation tone to support the instrument. With 76 ranks and over 4,200 pipes, the pipe organ at Christ and St. Luke’s will be one of the largest in the Hampton Roads region.

Why is this work being done? “The organ sounds fine to me!” To the casual listener, the organ might sound perfectly acceptable, but a closer inspection will yield some surprising and troubling results. Heavy and constant use, over-crowding in the organ chambers, and huge swings in temperature and humidity have taken their toll on the complex instrument. More and more pipes are being silenced and no longer functional. Regular maintenance is very difficult to perform. Some pipes have completely collapsed from their own weight. Our Casavant organ was built in 1963 and has faithfully served our Parish for over 50 years. A complete overhaul is now necessary to ensure that our organ will last another 50 years or more!

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ORGAN REMOVAL PROCESS

On January 23, 2018, the crew from Foley-Baker arrived at Christ and St. Luke’s to start dismantling our great pipe organ, and thus taking the next step in what has been a four-year process. It took 7 men and 14 full days to safely disassemble and pack all 3,500 pipes, supporting wires, racks, chests, reservoirs, blowers, steel supports, casework, and console. Two truckloads took these parts back to the shop in Connecticut, where they will be cleaned, repaired, restored, and in some cases, replaced with new components. We expect to see the organ return in phases later this year. Director of Music Kevin Kwan offers special thanks to the wonderful team from Foley-Baker who were professional and courteous during the whole process, accommodating the church’s worship schedule.

This time lapse video shows the entire removal process.  During these two weeks, normal services were held in the church, including five Sunday services, two Thursday morning services, and one wedding.

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ORGAN PHOTO GALLERY

These photos document the removal of the organ and show the many components of the instrument, some which haven’t seen the light of day for over 50 years.

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