Work Continues on Chapel Organ

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
James Brinson, school organist and carilloneur 

One of the most iconic elements of the Irvine Memorial Chapel is the six-division organ, a gift of the late George Wood of Chambersburg, PA, and built by the Skinner Organ Company of Boston in 1925. The instrument, which is now nearly 100 years old, has 55 stops, nearly 4,000 pipes, 27 couplers, and 33 adjustable combination pistons.

A few years ago, heavy rain caused some flooding inside the Chapel and damaged the west side of the organ. Extensive water damage was sustained by the Solo and Great divisions, according to James Brinson, the school’s organist and carillonneur.

During the winter-term closure of campus when weekly services and events weren’t being held in the Chapel, work began to repair plaster in the ceiling that was damaged as well as to remove approximately one-third of the organ’s 3,000 pipes and the chest that they fit into. The maintenance and restoration is being completed on and off site by Lewis & Hitchcock and Lawless & Associates Pipe Organ Company, and is anticipated to be completed in time for Baccalaureate on Friday, June 4.

“As we approach the 100th birthday of the organ, we hope to rebuild it and consider incorporating some digital components as well,” Brinson said.