Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Present Condition

The pipe organ of Espiritu Santo was one of the best sounding pipe organs of the country. It once filled the church with various sound from the soft flutes to thunderous plenum. Unfortunately, old age and neglect has left the organ unusable. The last attempt to repair on the said organ was about 8 years ago and at that time a need of a complete overhaul was suggested. Since then, the instrument had already deteriorated much.

A pipe organ ha
s lots of leather parts and lifespan of imported leather is greatly shortened in this country because of our harsh climate coupled with our polluted air. These same conditions also affected the thousands of electro-mechanical switches inside the organ console. A pipe organ like all other musical instruments, when not played regularly, will develop various problems and faults internally. First, dust will settle in the windway of each pipe making it sound out of tune or worst prevent the pipe from sounding. Another problem that will happen is that all axis and linkages in the organ will develop some stiffness causing some mechanical problems. Since the pipe organ has an electro-pneumatic system, the magnets and the electrical contacts in the keyboard will start to corrode. The deterioration dramatically accelerates the moment the organist stops using the organ.

The rubber cloth of the bellows have been patched a couple of times and are finally in their last years. It is now impossible to do minor repairs on the bellows. Without a steady wind pressure from the bellows, it will be very hard to tune the pipe organ.

The electric wirings to the magnets that run from the console to the different windchests inside the organ case are now very brittle and are easily broken. It has become very difficult to move inside the organ during servicing because of this.

The organ console on the other hand has its own sets of problems. Since the old organ system used in the organ is actually not suitable for our harsh tropical climate, problems were very common until the organ became unusable. All contact points have high levels of oxidation compromising the speed the pipe starts to sound when a key is pressed. The key travel is very deep because the key-depth adjustment is not functioning. All wirings within the console are also very brittle rendering any repair inside the console quite impossible in the near future as it can lead to more damage as wires may break and short circuits may occur when servicing the console.

Generally, the instrument was not well made based on present construction standards.
Damages to the pipes were primarily due to poor pipe supports and racks. The absence of a good casework is also at fault since all pipes and various parts are more exposed to dust and birds. The interior of the church has also undergone a complete redesign and paintwork. Expectedly, the pipes now are full of dust and paint splatters since there is no casework at all to protect it.

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