CITY OF TONAWANDA —
The biggest challenge, both said, was finding something to fit the small space. Some organs, like many of the larger ones in Buffalo, can have as many as 10,000 pipes, far too many to fit inside the small chapel used for funerals, daily mass and choir rehearsals.
The search took a while because a few plans fell through, but eventually settled on purchasing one taken out of a newly renovated chapel at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. The M.D. Moller pipe organ was built in 1960 and consists of two moveable cabinets holding 447 pipes and a separate console that holds the double keyboard.
The trip to collect the organ was a quick one. Hull flew down to Nashville, rented a truck, loaded up the organ and drove back to the City of Tonawanda within 24 hours. He had a 9-months pregnant wife to get back to, after all.
Weeks later with a new baby at home — the Hulls’ second — and a handful of other jobs and obligations keeping him busy, Hull spent any odd time he got putting together the thousands of wires necessary to make the instrument work. It sometimes meant working into the early hours of the morning.
“I have a love of building things and engineering things. I really enjoy doing all that work,” he said. “The wiring was a lot of work. Any chance I’d get I’d come in here and wire up a couple wires.”
After some minor repairs and tweaks — some of the leather work needed replacing and the organ needed to be tuned and voiced — and the instrument was ready to go Feb. 1.
It hasn’t been used much at this point, but Hull and Uebler are eager for the congregation to hear the change from the piano they used to use.
“People forget that there’s so much great organ music and it adds so much to a service. It just enhances the worship,” Hull said. “A pipe organ is timeless. It doesn’t wear out, it doesn’t go out of style. The sounds don’t become obsolete.”