Christ United Methodist completes installation of new church organ

Christ United Methodist Church recently completed installation of a new Allen Protégé C-8c organ. The organ replaced the Rodgers 330 organ which was deemed unusable after the June 5, 2005 fire at the church.
This new instrument is the product of years of advancement in digital sound and control techniques by the Allen Organ company. The Protégé provides stunning “pipe organ sound” by using multiple DSP’s working together to offer supercomputer power within one organ console. Complimenting the organ is the Allen Ensemble, a MIDI sequencer enabling the organ to play many sounds simultaneously and which provides hundreds of additional instruments from which to choose. Music can be stored and played back on the Allen “Smart Recorder”.
The first organ of Christ Church was installed in 1938 during preparations for Good Friday services. The orgatron, an early version of the modern day electric organ, was purchased by the pastor’s wife, Mrs. J.S. Colledge, the Reeds, the Bill Becks, the Bruce Carpenters, the Harry Glasses and the H.W. Edmonsons. Tones on this organ were generated by reeds that vibrated by electrically fan-blown air, with the vibrations picked up electrostatically and then amplified.
The church’s second organ, a Baldwin, was based on tube technology (another innovation at this particular time) and cost approximately $2,500. Many members of the church contributed $100 apiece to purchase the organ which was installed in November of 1963. A new Rodgers organ, installed in December of 1979, was also a revolutionary advancement in organ design. The first of its kind in Blair County, the organ’s circuitry was completely sold-state, utilizing silicone transistors and diodes. It should be noted that each of the four organs purchased by Christ Church have been representative of the most advanced technology in electronic organ production of the time.
The Allen Organ Company, located in Macungie, Pennsylvania (near Allentown) has built 80,000 organs since 1938 and has organs on all seven continents. Mr. Virgil Cannarsa, Central Pennsylvania Representative for Allen Organ since 1972, installed the organ in Christ Church. Members of the church were assisted in the process of acquiring a new organ by Richard Merryman, organist at First Presbyterian Church of Tyrone, and a recitalist representing Music Emporium of Altoona.
Members and friends of Christ United Methodist Church will first experience the sounds of the new Allen organ at the April 9 Dedication Service for the renovated sanctuary. Current organist, Anna Myers, will present a “mini-recital” prior to the 9:30 dedication service. Former organists of Christ Church include Harry Lykens (who taught Mrs. Myers piano for 15 years) and Gertrude Summers (aunt of Mrs. Myers). Mrs. Summers, who is still an active member of Christ Church, learned to play the orgatron in 1938 under the guidance of Miss Pearl Cowher.
All are welcome to attend the April 9 service of dedication, worship and celebration.