Corinth Reformed United Church’s organ is in the process of getting a complete makeover by Tennessee-based Colby Organ Builders company.
To view more photos of the process, scroll to the bottom of this article.
Roger Colby, president and founder of the company, said they have been working on this project for almost six months. “This is a total custom installation, which is rare these days,” he explained. “Everything you see has been hand-built for this installation.”
“It’s been a six-month process, and we’ve been on site for about two months now,” Colby added. “There are 3,500 pipes, so that means there are 3,500 actions; that’s 7,000 pieces — and I’d say plus 1,200-1,500 other pieces — that are being installed.”
Colby said they will be working for at least another month before the job is done. “Once we’ve finished all of the mechanical work we have to go through (to tune each piece) and get the character right for the room,” he said.
Colby learned the organ building trade from his father, who owned a pipe-organ-building company in western New York. “It’s kind of passed down from generation to generation. I moved to eastern Tennessee and started this company in 1975,” he said. “Now my son and daughter are taking it over.”
“I’m working down, and they are working up,” he chuckled.
He reminisced on other projects completed during his career, which total over 500. “We work all over the country,” he said. “We’ve done jobs in Mexico, Honolulu; we did the U.S. Naval Academy’s organ in their chapel. We deal mainly with churches and universities, but we have done resident installations and theaters, too.”
Most notably, the company completed a project for Disney Studios in Hollywood at its El Capitan Theatre and The Castro Theatre in San Francisco that will be installed next year. “It’s a unique business,” he laughed.
Colby anticipates the Hickory church’s organ project will be completed by February. “They won’t need any serious maintenance for the next 40 to 50 years after that,” he explained.